Wednesday, April 9, 2008

13 Beloved wins Golden Raven in Brussels

Chukiat Sakweerakul has just added another accolade: a Golden Raven award for 13 Beloved from the Brussels International Festival of Fantastic Film, which wrapped up on Tuesday.

One of the best films of 2006, and picked up for a remake by The Weinstein Company, this gritty, bloody and oftentimes stomach-churning psychological thriller has been steadily gaining notices, thanks in large part to a recent Region 1 DVD release on the Weinsteins' Dimension Extreme label, under which its been renamed more threateningly 13: Game of Death.

I've been waiting for a chance to highlight some more reviews of the DVD. Most I've seen are fixated on the film's puzzling ending, which I think is all part of its magic. I mean, how can a pint-sized version of a villain out of a Bond film -- with a white cat and everything -- be a bad thing?

From Real Movie News:

13: Game of Death proves to be a relatively character-driven and thought provoking horror movie. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny and the ending is a letdown, but it’s an exciting experience up until then. Even if it tries to accomplish too much, it’s still well worth checking out for the realism of the central character and the eerie possibility of the premise.
And from Pop Matters:

Overloaded with good intentions and definitely overreaching at the end, 13: Game of Death ... is a very '70s post-millennial movie. It gets a great deal of its clockwork thrills right. It also stumbles in significant ways while rushing toward the end.

I guess it takes someone who's lived in Thailand to truly appreciate this film. So, in closing, I turn to former Chiang Mai resident Peter Nellhaus, at Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee:

Beyond the sensationalism is a critique of contemporary Thai culture, humorously relayed in ever darkening shades of black. Chit's obsession with meeting all 13 challenges addresses the question of financial neediness, when having a lot is still never enough. Quite pointedly is the jab at the Thai attitude towards family when Chit tries desperately to contact the oblivious family of a deceased man. Flashbacks show how many of the challenges reflect on incidences in Chit's past. The film takes place during one day, and the progression into darkness serves as a metaphor for Chit's own journey into childhood traumas.

13: Game of Death
is available from Thai Film Journal affiliates HK Flix or Amazon.

See also:

(Via Hollywood Reporter)

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