Thursday, June 17, 2004

Melbourne Thais one on

The Melbourne International Film Festival, from July 21 to August 8, is featuring a bunch of Thai films, including the Cannes prize-winning Tropical Malady, the martial arts hit Ong-Bak and six films in a special showcase category.

According to The Age, Ong-Bak will be the closing film, with the festival organizer describing it as "'an anti-Matrix' with a charismatic action star, Tony Jaa, 'a visceral experience to send people off into the night', at the end of more than a fortnight of intense movie-going."

The closer for the Bangkok International Film Festival in 2003, Ong-Bak is also the closer at this year's Auckland Film Festival.

In Melbourne, the spotlight showcase is called Thai Breakers: New Cinema from Thailand, and features six films:
  • Last Life in the Universe (Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
  • The Eye (Oxide & Danny Pang)
  • Mekhong Full Moon Party (Jira Maligool)
  • The Adventure of Iron Pussy (Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Michael Shaowanasai)
  • 6ixtynin9 (Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
  • Mon-Rak Transistor (Pen-ek Ratanaruang)
That's three, count them three films, from Pen-Ek at the fest. I really want to see 6ixtynin9, but I don't know about flying down to Melbourne just to get that fix.

Apichatpong has two films showing at the fest, in addition to Adventure of Iron Pussy, which is also showing at the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. His other film is Tropical Malady, which won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It's showing in the Direct from Cannes category, along with Palm d'Or winner Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Grand Prize winner Old Boy and 17 other films.

Also at the Melbourne fest is a photographic exhibition, Why I am not a Painter staged by cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The show will highlight his collaborations with such directors as Wong Kar-Wai (2046, In the Mood for Love), Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe) and Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence). Here's more on the Doylester:

Born in 1952 in Sydney, Doyle fled his suburban youth for a life of adventure: working as a well digger in India, a Norwegian merchant marine, a cow herder on an Israeli kibbutz, and a doctor of Chinese medicine in Thailand. In the late 70s, Doyle started working in theater, and then in film and television. Doyle's first film breakthrough occurred in 1981, when he was the cinematographer on Edward Yang's feature debut That Day on the Beach. Working primarily in Asia, Doyle gained international recognition in the 90s for his poetic camera work for director Wong Kar-wai, on such films as Chungking Express (1995), Happy Together (1997) and In the Mood for Love (2000), for which he won a Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Branching out to shoot features around the world for such directors as Gus Vant Sant (Psycho, 1998) and Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence, 2002; The Quiet American, 2002), Doyle also directed his first feature, Away with Words in 1999. His latest collaborations with Zhang Yimou (Hero, 2002), Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe) and Wong Kar-Wai (2046, 2004) cement his reputation as one of the world's most visionary cinematographers.

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