Friday, May 19, 2006

New articles at Criticine

The new issue of Criticine is up. In this issue, editor Alexis A Tioseco takes great pains to explain why the scholarly Southeast Asian film journal based in Manila hasn't had much on Thai film. It's because of the language difference; most of the other countries with developed film industries - Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia - have a history co-productions and share better fluency in English (because they were colonized, while Thailand managed to keep itself isolated). But Criticine hopes to increase content on Thai cinema with more translations of articles from Thai publications.

This issue features two interviews, of Bangkok Post film critic Kong Rithdee and with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, both conducted by indie filmmaker Thunska Pansittivorakul for Siam Contemp, a magazine published by the Thai Culture Ministry.

Kong's interview is excellent. He explains quite succinctly what the Thai film industry is doing right, and what it's doing wrong. He talks about why the Korean film industry has been so successful while the Thai industry - though well advertised - is fumbling. He sounds off about the Bangkok International Film Festival - the star-studded, red-carpet party thrown each year at taxpayer expense.

Apichatpong's interview goes in-depth, talking about what film personally means to him, but also about the state of the Thai industry, which he terms as "not professional enough", a systemic problem that goes to the very root of the Thai educational system and society:

Thailand is plagued by the greed of a small group of powerful individuals - greedy people who do not think of creating anything beneficial for the country, unlike Korea or Hollywood.

The big news though is that his New Crowned Hope project is now called Syndromes and a Century.

It had been called Intimacy and Turbulence, but has changed. Here's an excerpt that explains:

Thunska: At first, I heard that it was about your father and mother?

Apichatpong: It’s not anymore. There’s still some element of them in it. I began with my parents’ story, but it has sprung to other things. When I met the actors, when I found the location, there were other stories combined and added in. I try not to limit it—I allow it to flow whichever way it goes. It is very exciting.

He also talks about other upcoming project, Utopia, famously called his "caveman" picture, and Heartbreak Pavilion, which he's producing and is co-directed by Thunska and Sompot Chidgasornpongse.

(Via Twitch; cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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