Monday, February 3, 2014

Berlinale 2014: Jakrawal rolls into Forum Expanded

Stone Cloud

Experimental filmmaker Jakrawal Nilthamrong is taking part in this year's Berlin International Film Festival, with three entries in the Forum Expanded program, Stone Cloud, Hangman and INTRANSIT.

Here's the synopsis for Stone Cloud, a 30-minute short:

A monk asks villagers to move a big stone up to the hill. He wishes to smooth the rock so he can sit on it and meditate. While the monk is sculpting the stone a state of deep contemplation occurs. He sees past, present and future.

“The story in Stone Cloud derives from a monk friend who was ordained and lived in a jungle temple. He was a gifted film director and cinematographer, winning numerous awards before left the worldly life to become an isolated monk. I always try to visit him as much as I can … And every time I saw him and spent the nights at the jungle temple a marvelous peacefulness occurred.” (Jakrawal Nilthamrong)

His other two projects, Hangman and INTRANSIT, are in the group exhibition What Do We Know When We Know Where Something Is?

Hangman is an execution scene based on the memory of the son of the late Mr. Chavoret Jaruboon, Thailand's last executioner who passed away recently of cancer. Coincidentally, he's the subject of an upcoming biographical film The Last Executioner by director Tom Waller and starring Only God Forgives crimefighter Vithaya Pansringarm.

INTRANSIT is a multimedia installation that was the centerpiece of a group exhibition last year at Chulalongkorn Art Center in Bangkok. An ode to a medium that's fast disappearing in this digital age, it featured a loop of film running through a specially-equipped classroom projector. "Through spectacular images of a planet in creation, made using 1960s sci-fi special effects incorporating organic materials, scale models and shooting on 35mm film, INTRANSIT presents a spectacular testament to a medium in transition," says the program description.

According to Jakrawal, he's sending his loop of film to Berlin, with the festival organizers taking care of rigging up a projector to run it.

Another interesting entry in Berlin is Singaporean filmmaker Tan Pin Pin's documentary To Singapore, With Love, which features interviews with Singaporeans living in political exile, including one who lived in Thailand. Controversially, it was dropped from last year's World Film Festival of Bangkok, with the official reason being that the filmmaker hadn't obtained permission to shoot in Thailand from the Thailand Film Office.

Also in Berlin, four young Thai indie filmmakers – Pathompong "Big" Manakitsomboon, Wanlop Rungkumjad, Rasiguet Sookkarn and Sompot "Boat" Chidgasornpongse – are taking part in the Talent Campus.

The 64th Berlin International Film Festival runs from February 6 to 16.

Update: This post has been altered from an earlier version to restate facts about To Singapore, With Love being dropped from the World Film Festival of Bangkok.

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