Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Thai cinemas: First Flight, Siyama

Two Thai films open on Thursday in Thailand cinemas: The historical drama First Flight and the supernatural historical fantasy, Siyama: Village of Warriors. Both are effects-heavy films that have been in production for a long time.

From RS Film's Avant production house, First Flight has been in the works for five years. A tale of daring young Thai men and their flying machines, it is set in the early 1900s and is based on the formation of the flying corps that would become the Royal Thai Air Force. The special effects involving flight proved to be a challenge for the production company. Meanwhile, show reels for First Flight have been shown at film markets since 2003, and in the intervening years some of the film's thunder was stolen by Flyboys, a Hollywoodized drama set in World War I France.

The trailer for First Flight plays up the comedic aspects of brave pilots puking and being chased by water buffalo, but I suspect it will be more melodramatic than it lets on, and overall it will be nationalistically nostalgic.

More nationalistic homeland defense is on tap from Mono Film with Siyama: Village of Warriors, about some modern-day teens who travel back to 1764 Siam to take up ancient arms in a desperate battle to save Ayutthaya from an invasion. Though it was in post-production in 2006, months before Naresuan came out, Siyama looks like it is riding in the same column as that royal pic, as well as themes also hit upon in 2001's Bangrajan.

Both of these are just fodder that will likely be forgotten
come February 6. This is opening day for the highly anticipated and heavily promoted juggernaut that is Chocolate, starring Panna Rittikrai's and Prachya Pinkaew's new star action Nitcharee Wismitanant as gifted young autistic woman who goes on a Muay Thai-inspired warpath.

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