Friday, October 11, 2013

Lao premieres, Home, Boundary and River Changes Course among highlights at 2013 Luang Prabang fest

With his lineup released last week, Luang Prabang Film Festival director Gabriel Kuperman revealed a few of his highlights in an article in The Nation today. Here's the details:

The opening film will be Big Heart, directed by Laos' Mattiphob Douangmyxay. It's about a young boxer overcoming personal obstacles while falling in love.

The other Lao premiere will be I Love Savanh by Bounthong Nhotmanhkong. It's about a Japanese expat working in southern Laos and taking romantic interest in a weaver.

"These impressive titles are the feature film debuts for both directors, and both show incredible promise for the filmmakers," Kuperman says.

Other highlights are two films by acclaimed Love of Siam director Chookiat Sakveerakul. He's expected be on hand to present his award-winning Chiang Mai-set drama Home as well as his teen comedy Grean Fictions.

Noted Thai indie filmmaker Nontawat Numbenchapol will also be there, showing his documentary Boundary, covering the Thai-Cambodian border dispute around the Preah Vihear temple.

More views from across the border come from Cambodian genocide survivor and activist Youk Chhang, who will present A River Changes Course, which won the World Cinema Jury Prize at this year's Sundance festival. Directed by Kalyanee Mam and produced by Chhang's Documentation Centre Cambodia, it's a look at how the country's ancient culture and fragile environment is being devastated by globalisation.

And from Vietnam, Thi Nhung Mello-Pham will present Here ... or There? At age 65, she's made her debut feature, a semi-autobiographical drama about a Vietnamese woman who retires with her European husband to a remote Vietnamese fishing village.

Also peppered in there as possibilities for the main screen are Pen-ek Ratanaruang's hitman thriller Headshot (though with its gun-toting monk maybe not on the main screen), Visra Vichet-Vadakan's Karaoke Girl and a two-pack from Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, P-047, which I'm not sure what they'll make of in Laos, and his more-accessible teen drama Tang Wong.

The Luang Prabang Film Festival runs from December 7 to 11.

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