Thursday, October 15, 2015

In Thai cinemas: The Down, So Very Very, P'Chai My Hero

Five twentysomething Thais who just happen to have Down syndrome are spotlighted in The Down (เดอะดาวน์), a documentary that aims to show people with Down syndrome in a positive light, living ordinary lives and making contributions to society. It's a passion project of producer-director Wongthanong Chainarongsingha, founder of A Day magazine.

The five subjects are Sutthiphot "Bank" Kanoknak, who works at a Uniqlo store, Kamonporn "Pan" Vachiramon, an AIS customer service staffer, twin Special Olympics bocce-ball champs Onnipa "Orm" and Atiya "Un" Kanjanasiri, and Starbucks employee Sirinluck "Beer" Chalat.

You can find out more about the movie in an article in The Nation. It is showing at Major Cineplex and SF cinemas. The trailer is embedded below.

Fresh from its run at House cinema, the South Korean-Thai romantic comedy So Very Very (จริงๆ มากๆ, Jing Jing Mak Mak) comes to The Friese-Greene Club tonight for the first of two special screenings. Tonight, director Jack Park will be on hand to talk about his film, which follows a struggling young South Korean filmmaker as he falls in love with a Thai woman and marries her. So Very Very also screens at the club next Thursday. To attend, check out the Facebook events page. And for the trailer, check out an earlier post.

You have another chance to see the charming indie film P'Chai My Hero (พี่ชาย My Hero) this week at select Major Cineplex branches as it is released back into cinemas. Also known as How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), the coming-of-age drama is experiencing an "Oscar bump" as the result of being Thailand's submission to the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Feature. With plenty of warmth and humor, it deals with many hot-button issues, including gay themes and Thailand's unique military draft lottery.

Also of note in Thai cinemas this week is the local release of the unusual Hungarian film White God, which won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival last year. It is the second feature brought in by the new indie distribution outfit HAL Film, which made its debut a few weeks back with another buzzworthy Cannes 2014 title, The Tribe. The man behind HAL is Dhan Plewtianyingtawee, the owner of a film school who wanted more Thais to see the kinds of weird and wacky films he likes. You can read a story about him in BK magazine.

And there's a Thai film that has slipped into that hidden classification of the ratings system – the banned category. The Buddhist-themed thriller Arbat has been banned at the behest of Buddhist groups, which objected to the film's depiction of a young monk falling in love with a teenage girl.

Other new releases this week include Robert Zemeckis' terrific The Walk and Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. They are covered over on the other blog.

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