Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Look at all the Thai films at Rotterdam

News from the International Film Festival Rotterdam got me to finally look at the full schedule, and I was amazed at the depth of the programming there, and at the sheer number of films from Thailand.

In competition in the short films was The Rocket by Uruphong Raksasad. It missed being named a winner, though. Congratulations to the three winners: As I Lay Dying by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia), Ah, Liberty! by Ben Rivers (United Kingdom) and Observando el cielo by Jeanne Liotta (United States). Twitch has more observations on Ho's win.

Still to come is news of the Tiger Awards feature competition, which features Wonderful Town by Aditya Assarat.

Just looking at the competition entries isn't enough, though. For a full picture of the Thai films that are being shown in Rotterdam, I have to take a look at the schedules by country, and then break it down further by section.

Exploding Cinema: New Dragon Inns is where the gold mine is. I knew that Pimpaka Towira's documentary The Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong was screening in that section, but I wasn't prepared for the many Thai shorts in there as well.

Among the works is Black Air, an interactive art installation, with Apichatpong Weerasethekul credited as adviser. Directors are Pimpaka Towira, Jakrawal Nilthamrong, Akrichalerm Kalayanamitr and Koichi Shimizu (who did the music on Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy).

Then there is another category within New Dragon Inns called Thai Dragons, featuring seven films:

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy was playing in the Sturm und Drang section, which IFC's R. Emmet Sweeney thinks is an odd placement for a film by an established director like Pen-ek, who's been on the festival scene for 10 years now. (Note to R. Emmet: Lucky 7 is a work by seven Singaporean directors, not Thai.)

More logically placed is The Unseeable by Wisit Sasanatieng, in the Rotterdämmerung program, which is for "monsters, blood and sex". I think The Unseeable has all those things.

(Photo credit: A still from Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Meteorites (Nimit), via IFFR press center)

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