Tuesday, May 28, 2013

National Heritage films to screen June 1 and 2

Since its inception two years ago, 50 films have been inducted into the Registry of Films as National Heritage by the Thai Film Archive and the Culture Ministry.

Began in October 2011, to mark that month's annual Film Conservation Day, 25 historic films were named, with 25 more added to the registry this past October.

This Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, four of the National Heritage films will be screened for free by the Film Archive at Paragon Cineplex in Bangkok.

Showtimes are at 2pm and 7pm.

Up first on Saturday is The King of White Elephant (พระเจ้าช้างเผือก ) from 1941. The oldest surviving Thai feature, the epic of elephant battles and palace intrigue is also a rarity because it's an English-language film, produced by statesman Pridi Banomyong as anti-war propaganda, to let the world know that not all Thais agreed with Japan's imperialist moves.

Also on Saturday is Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ). The newest entry in the Registry, Boonmee made history in 2010 by being the first Thai film to win the prestigious top-prize Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It brought much international recognition to director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and to Thai independent films in general. It's a mystical tale, about relatives of a dying uncle gathering around him for a dinner that's visited by ghosts from his past.

First up on Sunday is 1982's Son of Northeast (ลูกอีสาน), a landmark docu-drama by Vichit Kounavudhi, which follows the migrations of a close-knit group of struggling farming families in northeastern Thailand of the 1930s.

The program closes with another classic, Reun Pae (เรือนแพ ), a.k.a. The Boat House or The House Boat, a sumptuous 1961 Thai-Hong Kong co-production that blends music, romance and adventure in a rollicking and tragic tale of triangular romance between guys renting a floating house and the pretty daughter of their landlord.

Unfortunately, neither of the movies on Sunday have English subtitles. Subtitled prints existed at one time, but not any more. Tickets will be handed out one hour before showtime.

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