Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More films at the Bangkok Fringe

Part 2 of the Sea the SEA program of short films and features from Southeast Asia and Taiwan unspools this Saturday and Sunday, the closing weekend for the Bangkok Fringe Festival 2008.

This weekend's series features packages of recent shorts from Malaysia and Taiwan, and features from the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand.

Among the highlights is Birth of the Seanama, a rare, acclaimed feature by Thai artist and activist Sasithorn Ariyavicha. There is also Tuli by Filipino director Aureaus Solito, A Short Film About the Indio Nacional by Raya Martin (actually not a short film, but a feature) and The Last Communist by Amir Muhammad, which is banned in Malaysia.

Here is the schedule:

Saturday, February 16

1pm, S-Express Malaysia (55 min.)
  • Pool - A few months after tsunami, some kids in village in Aceh, Indonesia, gather in an unusual pool. Director: Chris Chong Chan Fui
  • Qalam - A monk goes on a path of enlightenment, but does anyone want to listen? Director: Hadi Koh
  • Westbound - A man is rushing to Kuala Lumpur for an audition of a role that requires him to speak Mandarin, the language he does not speak. Director: Kubhaer T. Jethwani
  • A Day in the Life - A day in the life of a public worker under a special branch. Director: Syed Omar
3pm, Tuli (107 min.) - A group of Filipino boys gather at the creek. Through the lush forest, sun dapples the ground and water. A kind of ritual begins to transpire. The boys, one by one, are circumcised in a requisite rite of passage. A young girl, Daisy, is also there and becomes her father's stoic assistant in the act. Life in the remote village seems simple and innocent. But as the children grow up, things become more complicated. Daisy, a beautiful young woman, is dissatisfied with her life. Her father is continually drunk and increasingly abusive. An arranged marriage seems her only way out, but she has her eye on a different lifestyle. Director: Auraeus Solito

5pm, Birth of the Seanema (70 min.) - The sea is the place that holds all the memories of every being and everything in the world. Through the cracks of the sea emerge the images from which a tale of a lost city is woven – the city in which its inhabitants’ memories, dream, emotions were fragilely interconnected. Director: Sasithorn Ariyavicha

Sunday, February 17

1pm, S-Express Taiwan (65 min.)
  • Shopping Cart Boy - A love story blossoms between a supermarket employee and a shopping cart. Director: Hou Chi-Jan
  • Street Survivor - The film confronts the goverment policy to abolish publicly registered prostitutes and challenges the existing law enforcement in Taiwan. Director: Lin Jing-Jie
  • Waterfront Villa Bonita - After a series of absurd incidents in real estate development, some ordinary people who reside by the river see a ray of light in their desperate lives. Director: Lou Yi-An
3pm, The Last Communist (90 min.) - This semi-musical documentary observes the early life and legacy of Chin Peng, leader of the banned Malaysian Communist Party and the resistance against the Japanese and British. The film crosses Malaysia in search of the places frequented by the Communist leader, and conducts interviews, which are interspersed with specifically composed score reminiscent of old-fashioned British propaganda films. Director: Amir Muhammad

5pm, A Short Film About the Indio Nacional (96 min.) - One of the most ambitious Filipino films in the last decade, this is a collection of silent film actualities revolving around the Indio, the common man during colonial times. Set in the 1890s brewing revolution of Filipinos against Spain and follows the life of an Indio in three different phases. A loving historical tribute, it tells the story of a child church bell-ringer torn between his duties to the Spanish state and as a Filipino, then a pubescent caught in the growing pressures of the revolution, and finally an actor in a rural community escaping his troubled soul. Director: Raya Martin.

The Bangkok Fringe Festival is being held at Patravadi Theatre, across the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok. It can be accessed by ferry from Tha Chan to Wat Rakhang pier and then a short walk to the right, or by River Express from Wanglang (Siriraj) pier, and a walk down the narrow alleyway next to Family Mart. Admission is 100 baht for each day's afternoon of films.

More information:

(Photo from Tuli via interview with Auraeus Solita at Final Cut Pro)

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