Saturday, May 31, 2008

More horror from Thailand: Coming Soon

More than Tony Jaa's action movies, it's Thai horror films that have really been selling.

Perhap the biggest player in Thailand's ghost genre right now is GMM Tai Hub (GTH), which was promoting its highly successful 4bia horror anthology and the hair-ghost/slasher thriller Body.

Among the upcoming titles GTH was selling was Coming Soon, which will be the directorial debut of Sophon Sakdaphisit, who has been a co-writer with the Shutter/Alone duo of Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom.

With a poster taglined, "The horror that you just saw is about to happen to you in real life!" and a scant synopsis, GTH was able to rack up some pre-sales deals for Coming Soon, according to Kong Rithdee, in yesterday's Bangkok Post (cache). Here's the synopsis, which Twitch posted sometime back:

What kind of scenes in a horror film scares you the most?

When a ghost appears totally unexpectedly?

When the main character does not see the ghost sneaking up behind him?

When at the very end you find out that the main character was actually a ghost all along?

But none of this compares to the feeling of arriving home alone and suddenly being stuck by a feeling of déjà vu that you are reenacting the very same scenes in the horror movie you just saw! Coming soon.

Coming Soon is due for release in Thailand in October. It was pre-sold to Panasia for Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to Screen Daily. Body went to Germany 's I-On New Media and Indonesian distributor PT Cakarwala Pesona Jaya Film, while 4bia has also been sold to Panasia, as well as Golden Screen in Malaysia and Golden Village in Singapore.

The GTH teen romance Hormones, the top-grossing film so far this year in Thailand, has also been sold to Panasia, Golden Village and Golden Screen, Screen Daily says.

Also at the Cannes Film Market there was the announcement of the remake deal for Five Star's Art of the Devil series, which Five Star Production cut with Cerenzie-Peters Productions.

Five Star even sold Soul's Code, starring jowly polymath blue-blood actor/news anchor/columnist/singer/part-time politician M.L. Nattakorn "Pleum" Devakula (also see Thailand Crisis). The movie tanked here in Thailand. I don't know anyone who bothered to go see it. Here's more from the Bangkok Post:

Five Star Production ... revealed that it has struck a deal to sell the remake rights for its black-magic horror Art of the Devil (the Thai title is Lhong Khong) to a production company associated with Paramount Pictures. Art of the Devil is a three-movie franchise, with the latest sequel coming out in Thailand last month and raking in a significant 55 million baht. The three films hang their shock tactics on the occult, rural voodooism and sometimes bloody, slightly yucky deaths. It'll be interesting to see how Hollywood attempts to transform the story, with its strong Southeast Asian supernaturalism, into a mainstream, mass-marketable product.

"We've been in negotiations with our partner since last year, but the deal was delayed by the Hollywood writers' strike," said Five Star executive Apiradee Iamphungporn. "The remake will be based on the theme of black magic - the key visual that got their interest was the scars and tattoos on the characters' bodies. The scriptwriters will work from that."

Five Star also sold Soul's Code, a ghost film that was a flop in Thailand, to many territories, especially in South America (including such small markets as Bolivia), a region that seems to have developed a thirst for Thai horrors. Besides ghost films, the studio has also been pushing a boxing/gangster film, Muay Thai Chaiya, to a decent response.

It's important to note, of course, that when foreign buyers purchase a movie's rights, they do not always release the film in theatres. In many cases they put the title directly into the DVD market in their countries.

But whether for multiplexes or for discs, Thai film studios have been actively selling their wares at Cannes for at least five years, and in the case of Sahamongkol, almost 10 years. Even though the domestic market remains the focus of Thai movie producers, they admit that the "bonus" from international distribution is too attractive to ignore, despite the weak dollar.

Art of the Devil 3, by the way, has opened in Malaysia.

Ong-Bak 2: Everybody wants some

More than anything Thailand had to offer at the Cannes Film Festival and the Marche du Film, the biggest response has been for the show reel for Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 2, which promises "several dangerous scenes including the fight on the back of tens of elephants".

Everybody wants some. So then came the teaser posters. And a search for more information. has come up with a look at the lead actress in the film, fresh-faced Primrata Dech-Udom, nickname Jajaa (not to be confused with Jeeja). They also have a tantalizing peak at that show reel, but there's so little of it, it's hardly worth the effort.

Kong Rithdee, in "A Piece of the Action" in yesterday's Bangkok Post (cache), has more on the market response:

Its two-minute trailer showing its star/director Panom "Tony Jaa" Yeerum brawling his way through a horde of bloodthirsty ancient warriors was enough to convince a number of drop-jawed foreign distributors to ink a contract.

"We've closed a couple of good deals based on this trailer," said Gilbert Lim, executive vice president of Sahamongkol Film International. "The film is not finished yet, but the buyers were excited when they saw the clip.

"At first they were a bit sceptical because Ong-bak 2 is a period film, so the production values had to be really good. But when they saw the trailer they were relieved. In Cannes we've made deals with a few territories and we're negotiating with American buyers."

Lim didn't reveal any figures, but said that his company is confident in the quality of the finished product and asking for "huge money" from international buyers.

Among the slack-jawed viewers was a contingent of North Carolinian filmmakers, whom I can just hear hollering "Gaww-leee!" Here's their take on it, from the Raleigh Chronicle:

Down in the film market in the main chamber beneath the Palais Festival, we happen upon a trailer for a film called Ong-Bak 2 starring a guy named Tony Jaa. Jaa is the baddest, quickest, most creative martial-arts asskicker I've ever seen on film. An example: In one scene he grabs a guys Adam's apple, twists it upside down and then cocks it like a shotgun.

We sit and watch for a while, and pretty soon a crowd gathers, and we're all like, "Ooooh!" and, "Awwwwww!" and "Daaaammmmm!"

Before the trailer runs its course, a guy with a sweater tied around his neck who stinks like money approaches, waving a business card in his hand and speaking in a British accent.

"Who is selling this film?"

It's all about the eyeballs.

Indeed. Who needs a plot in an action movie? Well, I do. How about you? Take time to vote in the poll that's posted for the next few days here, at the top of the sidebar on the right.

Related posts:

New teaser for Queens of Langkasuka, and a mixed response from the market

A new teaser trailer for Queens of Langkasuka has emerged, featuring mainly Ananda Everingham as a half-naked magical sea gypsy who sleeps with jellyfish, rides manta rays and has an earth-shattering roar.

It's a welcome update to the "70% CG" show reel.

However, what can't be ignored is that Queens was met with a mixed response from buyers at the Cannes Film Market, who generally felt the story was too confusing. I've not read anything yet that leads me to believe it has been sold, despite being screened for a "complet full" screening room. (Though, apparently, the screening rooms are actually pretty tight, with around a 60-seat capacity.)

Kong Rithdee, writing in yesterday's Bangkok Post (cache), has more:

Some people liked it, others weren't so impressed. Neither a ghost film nor an all-out action saga, this film, which cost over 140 million baht to make and features large-scale sea battles, pirate attacks and underwater sorcery, failed to stimulate immediate interest from foreign buyers, even though most of them acknowledged that it is ambitious and has business potential. A reviewer in Hollywood Reporter wrote that the film will have to persuade buyers that a movie from Thailand can be interesting, even when it has nothing to do with "ghosts or muay Thai". Its length is another issue: At the moment Queen[s] of Langasuka is 140 minutes long, and the studio is considering an "international version" that will be at least 20 minutes shorter.

Fume. I hate the sound of that. "International version". I read that and I think "compromised version". But, not having seen the film, perhaps it is genuinely in need of some trimming, for Thai audiences even. Multiplex crowds everywhere would certainly appreciate a shorter film. As long as Nonzee's vision is pure, go for it.

Moving along, here's some positivity from Hollywood Reporter's Maggie Lee:

Queens is 90% unadulterated entertainment and 10% ambitious re-imagination of pan-Asian historical legend. Sumptuous to a sin in production and costume design, with whirlwind action sequences merging realistic Thai boxing with theatrical '90s Hong Kong-style stunts, it has the nostalgic charm of classics like Sinbad the Sailor and a truly exhilarating sea battle at the end.

Imaginative marketing is needed to launch it internationally as a product that does not conform to the only two categories (horror and Muay Thai) which tweak acquisition interest. Jettisoning some of the more static palace spectacles and cluttered back story in an international cut might do the trick.

With sorcery and swordplay, fairytale romance, pan-Asian characters, amazing marine cinematography, dolphins and whales, even kamikaze hang-gliders, the story actually boils down to an arms race to see who's got the bigger canon. Think what Freud has to say!

Related posts:

Friday, May 30, 2008

New film-censorship law takes effect on Monday

Here's a story from today's Daily Xpress, which for some reason I cannot find on the paper's website:

Film censorship

New law out soon

Under-13s to be banned from violent movies; producers of ‘national security threats’ jailed for a year

By Pakamard Jaichalard
Daily Xpress

As of next month the new Film and Video Act metes out jail time and Bt1-million fines for unlicensed screening, distribution and cinemas. It also prevents kids under 13 from watching violent scenes.

When the new law takes effect, the Culture Ministry will take over from the current censor board, which is controlled by the police. The ministry will bring in doctors, psychologists and religious leaders to advise censors.

Culture Ministry permanent secretary Weera Rojphojjanarat says it’s considering new regulations to enhance the new act, which is a two-part statute.

The first grants permission for films to be produced in Thailand. The Tourism and Sports Ministry will supervise this. The second part deals with distribution and screening of films. This is within the remit of the Culture Ministry and its National Committee for Film and Video, encompassing the censors’ board and the National Culture Commission.

In the time it takes to transfer censorship powers to the ministry, this will remain the task of the current board.

The new regulations will see films rated by age, and will eventually end the unnecessary cutting of scenes, though this is some time off.

Film and Video Office director Amornrat Thepkampanart says that from June 2 until the new law takes effect, all films will have to be submitted to the censors.

Cinemas will also require a licence and those who fail to comply will be fined Bt20,000 for every day of the infringement.

Those running unlicensed cinemas or renting movies without permission face fines of between Bt200,000 and Bt1 million. Films considered a threat to national security could see producers jailed for a year and/or fined Bt100,000.

Just to recap, here is the proposed ratings system.

  • P - Film should be promoted for all audiences.
  • G - Approved for general audiences.
  • 13+ - Restricted to viewers aged 13 and above.
  • 15+ - Restricted to viewers aged 15 and above.
  • 18+ - Restricted to viewers aged 18 and above.
  • 20+ - Restricted to viewers aged 20 and above.

From the story, I gather that any film showing violence will be rated 13+, meaning people under 13 will not be allowed to see films with fighting, gunplay, war or gore. The attention to violence is a new development. Traditionally, violence has been allowed to unspool unfettered, while the censors were more worried about covering up nude bodies and pixellating sex scenes.

And what if the film is in the troublesome, mysterious "P" category? Conceivably, this "P" (for propaganda) classification could contain any kind of film, such as the Naresuan movies, which were actually quite violent, and even had some nudity.

Seems there will be some fine-tuning going on before the ratings comes fully into effect, as the story says. And, I would not be surprised if the ratings are never enacted - they would require too much accountability and loss of control on the part of the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Culture. They are more comfortable cutting and banning films than they are with giving permission for people, or even certain segments of people, to see them.

As far as the transfer of censorship power from the Royal Thai Police to the Ministry of Culture, that is also in transition, so I don't expect to see much immediate effect from this. It is alarming that the people making the films and taking all the risks aren't being given a voice in the process, while various special interest groups like doctors and clergymen will have a major say on whether a film can be shown.

The cinema licenses, "renting movies without permission", fines, etc., aren't going to impact the cinemas or average moviegoers either. But I do wonder about other venues that show films, like art galleries, as well as the film festivals. It'll be an interesting experience to see an international film festival or art gallery raided for showing an unlicensed film.

And the threat of jail for film producers is pretty alarming, especially for the fact that "national security" and not pornography is invoked. Makes me think the Culture Police will be gunning for independent filmmakers.

More information:
(Cross-published at The Nation Weblog)

Pang Bros.' Re-cycle coming to Blu-ray

Not even a handful of Thai titles have gone to Blu-ray DVD, and so far they have been limited to the action-fantasy-horror genres. There have been two so far -- The Tiger Blade and Vengeance -- not great films, but fun enough to be guilty pleasures.

The forthcoming Blu-ray release of Re-cycle by the Pang Bros. definitely falls in the fantasy-horror genre, but comes up short of being a guilty pleasure for me. It does manage to work up some decent scares, and has some really cool visuals.

The 2006 film was the closer in the Un Certain Regard program at the Cannes Film Festival that year. It marked the on-film reunion of the Pangs with Angelica Lee from The Eye. She portrays a writer who experiences strange phenomena when she starts on her new book. Eventually, she's transported to a strange world -- the dimension of things that have been thrown away -- lost toys, second-hand books, discarded lives and grey-skinned zombies.

The film was shot in Thailand with the Pangs' usual Thai crew, and co-stars Thai pop singer Jay Jetrin Wattanasin as a boyfriend of Angelica's character. reports that Image Home Entertainment will release Re-cycle on both Blu-ray and regular DVD on September 23.

(Via Bloody Disgusting)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thai commercial roundup: Light bulbs, ceiling tile and toothpaste

Thailand is well-known in the advertising world for its entertaining TV commercials. In fact, they are the best thing about Thai TV, which I'd probably actually watch more of, if only there weren't the annoying soap operas and inane variety-game shows.

A lot of film directors in Thailand got their start making TV commercials. Among the more notable are Wisit Sasanatieng and Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Occasionally, during their film careers, they have gone back to making commercials to earn a living. Several of their commercials are available for viewing around the net. They used to be on the Film Factory website, but that's been redesigned. Twitch has them (look under clips), and some are on YouTube as well.

Another film director who made commercials was Ratana Pestonji. He closed out his career making adverts because his critically acclaimed movies did poorly at the Thai box office.

In recent weeks, I've come across the mention of Thai television commercials on other blogs. Here's a roundup of three of them.

First, a Sylvania light bulb commercial, via Boing Boing Gadgets.

I love how the ghosts are explained. Several of these ghosts appeared in the recent animated feature, Nak, including the krasue, the Kra-Hung (flying ghost), the hungry ghost (tall ghost) and the banana stalk ghost (in Nak, she wielded bananas as weapons to slip up the bad guys).

Next, via 4am Expat, a compelling ad for Shera ceiling board.

So tragic. Makes me think of granny gecko in Citizen Dog. I think it also might be referencing a scene from Bang Rajan, of the lovers who die in battle.

Last, a risque ad for Black herbal toothpaste, which I came across via the comments section of a posting on Boing Boing about the "We Are the World" parody by Japanese impressionists. The comments addressed the use of blackface by the Japanese performers, who are pretending to be Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Ray Charles. The issue is also sure to be controversial when the upcoming Ben Stiller comedy film Tropic Thunder with Robert Downey Jr. in blackface is released. More after the video.

The toothpaste commercial is extremely politically incorrect. But in Thailand, making fun of the color of someone's skin or appearance is no big deal. Just don't pat someone's head, point your feet at them, or step over anyone. Those are grave offenses.

Many other Thai commercials are available for viewing on the web, but these are three that I recently came across and felt like sharing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trailer, reviews for Singaporean English-language romance The Leap Years

Broadcasting all Ananda Everingham, all the time, Bangkok cinemas this week bring in another Ananda movie, the Singaporean romantic drama, The Leap Years. It'll be playing alongside the Thai psychological thriller Memory and next week will be joined by Good Morning Luang Prabang, the Laotian-Thai road-trip romance that Ananda stars in.

The Leap Years is Singapore's first English-language romance movie. Based on a novella by Catherine Lim, the protagonist is Li-Ann, a schoolteacher who meets a guy (Ananda) by chance on February 29 and decides to try out an Irish leap-year tradition regarding a proposal made on that auspicious date. The drama then follows Li-Ann over four leap years, or 16 years.

When I was in Singapore a couple months back, I asked A Nutshell Review's Stefan what Leap Years was like. Surprisingly, I think for both of us, he said it wasn't bad, and was received very well in Singapore, where it was still playing in April after being released on, appropriately, February 29. The trailer, all 4:53(!) minutes of it (embedded below) didn't do much for me. (There's a short Thai trailer available that doesn't dwell on the English-language aspect.) But then trailers aren't always an accurate indication of how a film might actually be.

According to his review, the movie is carried by the strong performance by Wong Li-lin as Li-Ann. Joan Chen has a small role, playing Li-Ann in her later years.

Here's a bit more from A Nutshell Review:

Wong Li-lin anchors the entire movie with her heartfelt portrayal of Li-Ann. Forget about her dismal big screen debut in the horrid German movie Love Under the Sign of the Dragon, which had her almost sleepwalking through it like a zombie, and having her voice unceremoniously dubbed in German. This one showed what she can do, without succumbing to acting cute unnecessarily. Her Li-Ann has never dated and has been holding out for someone special, and chances upon Ananda's Jeremy at an al fresco cafe one day. So the usual games people play begins, with her putting some Irish 29th Feb tradition to the test, and he plays along, towards the goal of setting up a blind date.

Naturally not everything is as rosy as it seems, since the games ended after a magical outing together, with their pledge of meeting at the same place at the same time, every leap year on her birthday. Cliche lines get thrown about, like the frequently used one about better to have loved and lost than to never had loved at all, but the key theme here is about patience. If you deem him or her special, it's well worth the wait, isn't it? Only fools rush in, as they say. So do expect lines being spouted explicitly which might make you cringe a little, or implicitly suggests something that you'd probably already know of, from the wise old sayings of those who have been there and done that.

As for Ananda's performance (as well as Joan Chen), Tyler Lim of movieXclusive has more on that:

I have no idea why Ananda was chosen for his role, and I bet he still doesn't as well. More importantly, Joan Chen is criminally wasted in this movie. Coming off a Golden Horse award this year, the lady must be wondering why she accepted her role in this movie in the first place.

The audience would also wonder why Li-lin was so hard-up on Ananda in the first place, and if the script had managed to work in more of the motivations/connection between Li-lin and Ananda in loving each other at first sight, this would be a truly special date movie.

The Leap Years is in limited release in Bangkok from tomorrow at the Apex cinemas in Siam Square as well as Paragon, SF World and a couple Major Cineplex branches.

See also:

Body, Unseeable hit Korea, Spiritual World in Taiwan

The Thai horror boom is fanning out across Asia, and in a telling development about the lamentable state of Korean cinema, two Thai films are opening in Korea.

Lots of Korean films and soap operas are released in Thailand. Korean pop stars are regularly making stops in Bangkok to promote their records. Heck, Thailand is silly about K-culture.

Though, I must say, about the only Korean film I'm excited to see is the western, The Good, The Bad, The Weird, preferably on a triple bill with Sukiyaki Western Django and Tears of the Black Tiger, but that's for another time.

Anyway, it's time for some payback.

Opening this week is The Body (recently on show at Udine), the slick thriller from Paween Purijitpanya. And on June 19, Wisit Sasanatieng's old-timey thriller The Unseeble opens.

I think that's a beautiful poster for The Unseeable, by the way.

A couple of good choices to export - maybe they will inspire a resurgence of K-horror.

Meanwhile, the wave of Thai horror continues in Taiwan, with the latest export being Sahamongkol's Spiritual World, which I don't know too much about.

See also:
(Via Deknang, Popcornmag, 24 Frames Per Second)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Time is ripe for The Truth Be Told

Here we go again. The anti-government street protests have resumed in Bangkok, and are turning nasty.

It seems an ideal time for the release of The Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong, which is the second film in the Director's Screen series by Extra Virgin and SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. The film opens on Thursday night (May 29) for a four-week run, with showtimes at 7 nightly.

Filmed over the course of three years, with Thailand’s recent tumultuous political history as a backdrop, director Pimpaka Towira follows media activist Supinya during her legal fight against defamation lawsuits brought against her by the Shin Corporation.

The movie captures the tail end of the Thaksin era, and sees the People's Alliance for Democracy protests that formed to denounce Thaksin and the sale of his family's Shin Corp. assets to Singapore's Temasek Holdings. The film was basically completed when the military coup of 2006 took place, and changed everything. So the chilling post-coup atmosphere serves as a coda of sorts in the documentary.

The film premiered last year at the Thai Film Foundation's Digital Forum, and has since gone on to screen at festivals in Rotterdam, Thessaloniki, Toronto and Singapore. I thought it was brave film, mainly for the fact that it dared to take on the touchy subject of Thai politics -- very few films do -- and because of its blend of art-film aesthetics with documentary narrative.

Now it's playing for four weeks, and I wonder if any of Thailand's political bloggers will go see it and post reviews about it?

These are crazy times, as the People's Alliance for Democracy is back with demonstrations, denouncing the government. There is no middle ground. If you don't support PAD, then you are for the government. If you don't support the government, then you must be for PAD. There is no alternative, and no real democracy with either.

At the root of the fight this time is the leading People Power Party's desire to amend the constitution that was drafted under military rule last year. The charter penalized Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai cronies and created a loophole from prosecution from those taking part in the coup. The PPP, widely seen as a nominee of Thai Rak Thai and Thaksin, seeks to undo all that. A sidebar controversy is Prime Minister's Office Minister Jakrapob and what he said. And then there are the Democrats, the opposition party, which used to have the appearance of remaining above the fray, but in recent weeks have taken to posturing to show what they really stand for.

There is lots of writing about the situation. Bangkok Pundit, of course, has extensive coverage of PAD. Also here and here. But the one that sums it up best is the parody website, Not The Nation, which in its Onionish piss-take on the situation is probably as close to the frustrating truth of the matter as anything.

See also:

Poster contest: 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok

The 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok will be held from October 24 to November 2 at Paragon Cineplex.

This year, the festival's marketing squad is reaching out for poster and theme ideas.

A full-page ad in Daily Xpress has details of the contest.

Are you someone with creative and original ideas? Enter the 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok by sending us your best design to compete in the poster contest!

  • Everyone is invited, men and women of all ages and nationalities. But foreigners must prove they have lived in Thailand for at least five years.
  • There are no restrictions on the topic, idea or format. All that is needed is the logo for the 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok, along with the date and venue of the festial in English.
  • The design must be original and never previously shown in public.

  • Applications will be accepted until July 30, 2008.

Contest announcement and prize money
  • The World Film Festival of Bangkok will announce the winner on August 11, 2008 through media of Nation Multimeda Group. The World Film Festival of Bangkok will contact the winner directly.
  • The winner will receive 10,000 baht and the winning design will be used as the official poster for the 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok.
  • Poster designs that are selected in the first round will be shown on the World Film Festival of Bangkok's website and will receive a certificate from the World Film Festival of Bangkok and its host Nation Multimedia Group.

How to send the design
Send a CD that contains the .PDF and .AI file (created outline) of the design with some brief information about the contestant to:

The World Film Festival of Bangkok
12th Floor, Nation Tower
1854 Bangna-Trad Road, KM 4.5
Bangna, Bangkok 10260
Tel: (02) 338 3618-9
E-mail: DD [at] WorldFilmBKK [dot] com

New posters, poll for Ong-Bak 2

Back from the Cannes Film Market, Todd Brown of Twitch has posted a couple of new teaser posters for Ong-Bak 2, the upcoming martial-arts drama by Tony Jaa.

With the tagline, "The Real fight is Back!!! The new film from Tony Jaa" promises "several dangerous scenes including the fight on the back of tens of elephants." Ong-Bak 2 is the directorial debut of the 32-year-old Jaa, who also stars. Twitch has more:

Jaa stars in a period piece as a poor orphan boy raised by a collection of martial arts masters from across Asia and ends up an expert in all, fusing the styles into a comprehensive fighting style. The promo for this that was on display in Cannes is absolutely spectacular -- very well shot, loaded with action in a huge range of styles, and surprisingly bloody. Unless it’s let down by the script this will be truly incredible.

Discussion has ensued at Twitch on whether a Tony Jaa film really needs a decent script. Jaa's previous films, Ong-Bak and Tom Yum Goong had great action, but suffered from weak scripts. Some action fans say the script doesn't matter -- they aren't watching the movie for snappy dialogue -- they are watching for the incredible martial-arts action and stunts.

Along those lines, I have put my first poll on this blog: "Does it matter if Tony Jaa's films have good scripts?" It's at the top of the sidebar on the right. It will be up until midnight on June 4. I'll report the results in a week or so. Vote away.

See also:

Good reception in Bangkok, France for Wonderful Town

Director Aditya Assarat, back from France, where he was participating in the Thai Pitch at the Cannes Film Market, reports decent reception for Wonderful Town in Bangkok, where it has been screening for the past two weeks as the first film in the Director's Screen series. The film also opened for a commercial run last month in France, and has had great reception there. Aditya continues:

The reception for Wonderful Town in Bangkok has been better than I expected. There are 40 to 50 people every night. I went for a Q&A session and was happy to see some not-film-type-people, which means the PR is getting out to regular people who might be curious in a new experience -- the type of audience we are trying to reach out to in the first place (the film-type-people would come regardless).

The reception at the French premiere has been fantastic. The press is very enthusiastic and we had good timing, coming out two weeks before Cannes when there is traditionally a lull in the theaters as everyone gears up for the big festival. so in that little window, we managed to pull of a coup -- there was no competition in the art-film category so alot of people went to see Wonderful Town. The numbers are good and they have added prints, from 15 to 18 and now 21 prints.

No word on if Wonderful Town will see an expanded release in Thailand, even if it might be received well in such places as Chiang Mai and especially Phuket.

At Cannes, Aditya also participated in the Thai Pitch, which was put together by producer Pantham Thongsang. Three other directors were selected for the Pitch -- Nonzee Nimibutr, Pornchai "Mr. Pink" Hongrattanaporn and Nithiwat Tharatorn. Aditya pitched his next project, High Society. He continues:

Thai Pitch was okay. It was a bit disorganized, but I still managed to meet alot of people because it's Cannes, and everyone in the business is there. So I met a few meaningful contacts that could lead to something further. Now I am back in Bangkok and supervising the editing of my TV documentary series, Dreamchaser. It'll be on air every Monday at midnight starting on June 2 on Channel 3. And finally, getting back to work on my script for High Society. I gotta get it to a bunch of investors in June and have 50 pages still to go. So now, back to work.

The Director's Screen series continues this week with the opening of The Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong. More on that in the next day or so.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cannes Film Festival: It's Queens of Langkasuka

Since Nonzee Nimibutr's upcoming historical fantasy was first announced back in 2005, it has been called various things. The first title was Queens of Pattani, which sounded very bold. Some posters were even released with that title. But it was later changed to Queens of Langkasuka in a bid to tone down a title that might carry connotations of the violence in Thailand's three southernmost, predominantly Muslim provinces, one of which is Pattani.

Then, how to spell Langkasuka. It was being transliterated all kinds of crazy ways. Lungkasuka, Lung-Kasuka, etc.

Then there was the first part of the movie's title, the "queen" bit. Is it Queens or Queen? Though the title was first stated in the plural, for the better part of the last three years it has been referred to in the press as a singular queen, even though the tale is about three queens or princesses. Lots of confusion.

So I breathed a sigh of relief when I checked out Deknang and saw a photo of Nonzee sitting in front of an English-language poster at this year's Cannes Film Market. There it is, plain as day: Queens of Langkasuka. That is the proper spelling of Langkasuka, as recognized by the native English-speaking realm, and there are indeed plural queens. I'm so pleased right now, I might just explode.

I don't know much more about the film than that. It screened at the Cannes Film Market to packed-out exhibition halls, but I haven't yet uncovered any reactions about it in the English-language press, which is not surprising, seeing as how viewers of market screenings have to swear not to write reviews of the films -- the films are there for the industry, not the press or fans.

Queens of Langkasuka -- it feels so good to write that with authority now -- stars Dan Chupong, Ananda Everingham, Jedsadaporn Poldee and Winai Kraibutr. It also marks the return to the big screen of 1970s and '80s action heroine Jarunee Suksawat -- basically the Jeeja Yanin of her day.

Here is the synopsis, from Nonzee's production company, Cinemasia:

War rages on … princesses of neighboring dynasties have formed a coalition with rebel pirates, plotting to seize the powerful cannon from the Land of Langkasuka. The mass destruction juggernaut, capable of obliterating foes in a matter of seconds, is much coveted by any party seeking to tip the balance of power to their advantage.

Artillery is deployed, the infantry is mobilized, the Doo Lam force is unleashed ... The clash is critical. The three princesses of the Land of Langkasuka must at all cost protect their realm from the evil clutch of the ongoing wave of invaders – even with their lives on the line.

There are also some spiffy new character posters. And I've got my eye out for a new trailer to replace the ages-old "70% CGI" show-reel that's been floating around for the past couple of years.

Queens of Langkasuka is scheduled to open in Thailand on August 12, which is, appropriately, Her Majesty the Queen's birthday.

See also

(Via Deknang,,

Cannes Film Festival: Singapore roundup

Eric Khoo's My Magic, the first Singaporean film in the main Palme d'Or competition at the Cannes Film Festival screened on Friday, and I've been looking for some reactions to the film. But like Stefan at A Nutshell Review ("Probably Singapore's #1 Movie Review Blog"), I haven't had much luck finding anything. It's as if the press have already gone home as the festival starts winding down.

But I did manage to uncover some things.

My Magic is the story of a single father who switches from working in a bar to doing a job he really loved -- being a magician. The character is portrayed by a real magician, Francis Bosco, who performed some of his amazing feats on the red carpet in Cannes. Agence France-Presse, via Google News, has more:

The father-and-son tale, shot in nine days on a "super-shoestring budget," Khoo told AFP, is the story of a down-and-out depressed former magician, most often so downright drunk his 10-year-old cleans up his vomit at nights.

Star of the movie is Francis Bosco, a real-life fakir -- or magician -- who performs amazing feats of endurance and is a longtime friend of Khoo's.

He specialises in glass-chewing, fire-eating, levitation and pulling other rabbits out of hats.

Greeting the 2,000-strong Cannes crowd at the film's premiere, Francis waved a hand and produced flames from nowhere, then whipped open his wallet, which also caught fire.

Minutes later, at reception for the film, he offered to eat a glass but instead was handed a glass bulb -- which he chewed and swallowed after breaking off the metal parts.

"This is to prove I do all the magic in the film," he said of acts that include slipping large needles through his arm or tongue.

Khoo told AFP that the film was inspired by his friendship with the magician, who had been estranged for years with one of his sons.

The making of the movie, in which father and son finally come together, also brought Francis' son back.

Apparently the industry press has taken the weekend off, but I did manage to find one review of My Magic at Screen Daily. Here's an excerpt:

Eric Khoo's films are an acquired taste, and he hasn't moved much past the festival circuit since 12 Storeys emerged internationally in 1997. Exposing My Magic to the noise and attention of the Cannes competition doesn't particularly benefit either this film or the festival, although needless to say Singapore is delighted to have its first film in Competition. Hidden in one of the Cannes' more obscure corners (a single afternoon screening on the last Friday for all accredited guests) would seem to indicate that the programmers weren't convinced either. Any of the parallel sections would have been a far more comfortable berth for this slight story of a relationship between a drunken former magician who cleans bars for a living and a 10-year-old boy.

Khoo's usual minimalism here is pared down to a level where the direction almost appears non-existent. Neither of his leads are professional (playing a magician called Francis, Francis Bosco is himself a real-life magician), a conceit which probably looked better on page than it does onscreen.

Guess that explains why press and blogosphere coverage has been so minimal. It sounds as if the sweet My Magic didn't really fit in with the likes of the predominantly darker, dearly serious fare, like Clint Eastwood's Changeling, Steven Soderbergh's Che or the animated Israeli drama Waltz With Bashir. Nor can My Magic compete with the ridiculously high-voltage spectacles of the gala screening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or Jack Black prancing around to promote Kung Fu Panda.

About all that's really left is to speculate on which film might pick up the Palme d'Or tonight. Critic Glenn Kenny has more on the odds of Che vs. Waltz With Bashir:

[F]or a Cannes jury led by Sean Penn to give a Palme d'Or to a movie named Che is just too obvious. Me, I'm sticking with the prediction I made to pals on the first night of the festival -- that Ari Folman's animated inquiry into Israeli guilt, Waltz With Bashir, would take the Palme. Not only does it fulfill Penn's obnoxious requirement of being conscious of the world we're living in today, but it examines a phenomenon that most Israel-boosters in the U.S. would baldly deny even conceivably exists. Also, the mere act of a French film festival honoring an Israeli film would be big symbolic/semiotic news to those who pay attention to such things. How could Penn resist? Unless he's so anti-Israel he can't even countenance Folman's vision, which is entirely possible, I guess. But still. That's my prediction, and I'm sticking to it.

Kenny then highlights a bit of the power of the Cannes jury president, namechecking juror Apichatpong Weerasethakul:

You think Natalie Portman's actually going to stand up to Sean Penn? You think Alfonso Cauron and Sergio Castellitto don't have better things to do with their lives than bicker with a steamrolling Yankee asshole? ... You think Apitchatpong Weerasethakul is anything but just happy to be there? No. The only jury member I can see giving Penn any significant resistance is feisty Persepolis creator Marjane Satrapi, who delivered the lone rejoinder to the president's asinine relevance rules at the opening press conference. And she's likely to be pretty partial to Waltz, for reasons easily inferable.
Penn, in an interview with Le Monde, and leaked a day early, said the jury needs to have an "anti-Oscar" spirit:

Penn, 47, told French daily Le Monde that he and the rest of the nine-strong jury at the world's biggest film festival should reward a picture at the closing ceremony Sunday that bucks current trends in cinema.

"The best way to be honest is to try to emancipate ourselves from the effects of fashion, to try to find what will stay with us forever," he is quoted as saying.

"We've got to do the opposite of the Academy that gives out the Oscars, where manipulation and very good marketing are rewarded."

See also:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ananda dons the mask, but Red Eagle is delayed

In chatting with Wisit last night at the Ratana Pestonji 100 Years celebration at the National Film Archive, the first thing I had to bug him about, was, of course, Red Eagle.

He says he is still working on the script, and that it likely won't come out until next year. I didn't want to bug him any more than that, so that's really all there is to it for now.

When the project was announced in December, it was hoped he would start filming in March for a release in August. I was skeptical about that but kept concerns to myself. Wisit's films have usually been very involved processes. Take his amazing short film, Norasinghavatar, for example. It ended up costing more than six times the budget he was given. He had a vision, and stuck to that vision, whatever the cost, which in this case was 3 million baht (about US$94,000) -- he was initially given 400,000 baht. Tears of the Black Tiger and Citizen Dog were also uncompromising. The lone exception has been The Unseeable, which Wisit agreed from the start would be made quickly and inexpensively, as a favor to his producers at Five Star.

Red Eagle, a project he's been wanting to do for awhile, is going to take some more time. At one point, Wisit envisioned doing a two-parter, but Five Star wasn't sure about restarting the franchise -- they want to make one movie, see if it's a hit and then make a sequel.

Meanwhile, Insee Daeng designate Ananda Everingham is doing his bit to fan the red-hot flames of Red Eagle, posing for photos in Crush magazine. Lyn's Lakorn Blog has scans of the magazine spread.

I was a little nervous about Ananda being Red Eagle. And, when I talked to him about it back in December, Ananda was a little nervous about being Red Eagle. But seeing the photos eases my apprehension. I think he might be able to pull it off.

Ananda, by the way, is just about everywhere in Bangkok. He has three movies coming out back to back. He's starring in the slick psychological thriller Memory right now (it was the No. 2 movie in Thailand last week), his Singaporean romance The Leap Years opens in Thailand cinemas next Thursday, and his Laotian-Thai road-trip romance Sabaidee Luang Prabang (Good Morning Luang Prabang) premiered last night in Vientiane and opens in Thailand on June 5.

Then there's Queen of Langkasuka, The Coffin and Happy Birthday yet to come.

And Red Eagle, hopefully.

See also:

Photo essay: Ratana Pestonji - 100 Years

On May 22, 2008, to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary of pioneering Thai filmmaker Ratana Pestonji (May 22, 1908-August 17, 1970), a special event was held at the National Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom.

Ratana Pestonji's grandsons check out the wax figure of their grandfather. Their likeness to him is uncanny. Their mother is Ratana's daughter, Ratanavadi Ratanabhand.

Actors Suthep Wongkamheng and Chalee Intharawijit also check out the museum exhibit, which includes the Country Hotel set. Suthep played the lead role in Dark Heaven (Sawan Mued, 1958), and Chalee co-starred.

Actor Tom Wisawachart and Ratanavadi Ratanabhand (Ratana's daughter). They starred in Phrae Dum (Black Silk) in 1961.

The effervescent director and comic actor Dokdin Kanyamarn with Edel Pestonji.

Colorful actress Orissa na Ayutthaya was a child in Dear Dolly (Tukkata Jaa, 1951). Many children were auditioned for the role, but they started crying in the presence of the lights and camera. Orissa didn't, though. She's a natural.

The National Film Archive is seeking to put handprints, footprints and autographs of Thai filmmakers and actors in the concrete outside its small cinema, similar to Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Actor Prompong Nopparit, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, was the first to make his impressions in this new initiative.

Action star Sombat Metanee showed up late, making an "entrance" during a talk by Ratana's family, friends and colleagues. After the talk, it started to rain, and under cover of umbrellas, Sombat planted his hands and feet in concrete outside the theatre, and then posed for a photo with Dome Sukwong, the director of the National Film Archive.

The marquee was lit up for the premiere of the documentary film, Signature: The Life and Work of RD Pestonji. The film was hastily put together, actually completed and subtitled at the last minute. Rough in spots, I would think not much more work would be needed to fine tune it and bring it up to the level of something that could be included on a special-edition DVD or featured in a festival screening.

It has clips from all his films, including extremely degraded footage from the tragically lost Santi Veena, and a surviving still from his first film, Tang, from 1937, which won a prize at film festival in Scotland. Ratana was handed a trophy cup for the film by director Alfred Hitchcock.

Among the most eye-popping footage is from Sugar Is Not Sweet, an extremely colorful romantic comedy that Ratana made with the intention of it being his most overtly commercial film.

There's also footage from Dear Dolly, which has no sound, and another film I'd never heard of, Diamond Finger, which features a stunning performance of khon dancing. Essentially, it brings khon to the level of filmed spectacle of a Busby Berkeley musical. It's amazing.

Most of the people who showed up for the celebration -- Ratana's two sons, Santa and Edel, and his daughter, Ratanavadi -- are interviewed, as are actor Suthep Wongkamheng, Orissa na Ayutthaya, Dark Heaven actress Seubneung Kanpai and many others. New Wave directors Wisit Sasanatieng and a very animated Pen-ek Ratanaruang are also interviewed about the influence of Ratana's films had on them.

Seeing the footage from Country Hotel, Dark Heaven, Black Silk and Sugar Is Not Sweet on the big screen, while sitting in the audience with people who were appearing on the screen was a magical, emotional experience that I will not forget.

Snapped the photo just a hair too late. Wisit Sasanatieng, right, poses for pictures in the museum with Santa Pestonji, second from left, and Ratanavadi Ratanabhand. Santa later added his hand and footprints and signature to the pavement outside.

The Adventure of Sudsakorn animator Payut Ngaokrachang has a late dinner and talks with a fan. He has an incredibly detailed illustrated book of his work.

Payut worked with Ratana after Ratana had stopped making films in the mid-1960s and was making commercials for a living. They collaborated on a hilarious animated commercial for a brand of patent medicine or whisky (not sure which) that was racy and politically incorrect by today's standards. Ratana actually made Payut a camera to use for the animation.

Eventually, Payut, 79, made his hand and feet impressions in the concrete outside the cinema.

Not many people posed with the standee of an iconic scene from the off-the-rails Country Hotel. But while waiting for Payut to make his way outside, Dome and another archive official good naturedly took their place behind the photo.

The Thailand Post set up a special table where they offered postcards with a special commemorative stamp for the Ratana Pestonji 100 Years celebration.

See also:
(Photos via the Thai Film Journal photostream at Flickr)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Short films for HM the King going to Toronto

The nine films from the Short Films Project in Commemoration of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King's 80th Birthday Anniversary are going to Toronto next month for the Worldwide Short Film Festival, which runs June 10 to 15.

Co-programmed by Todd Brown of
Twitch, the Toronto screenings will be the first time the package of all nine shorts has been exhibited outside Thailand.

The project gathered together several of Thailand's great filmmakers, including Bhandit Rittakol, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Wisit Sasanatieng and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Created last year in celebration of His Majesty King Bhumibol's 80th birthday, the shorts are widely varied in subject matter and style -- fantasy, rural reverie, drama, a puppet play and documentary. Not all have anything specifically to do with HM the King.

Pen-ek's Luminous Sound, for example, is an interview with a blind pianist. Pen-ek said he was aiming to make a movie he thought the King might enjoy watching. Of course, the pianist plays some of the musically gifted Monarch's compositions.

Wisit's piece is Norasinghavatar, an eye-popping martial-arts fantasy based on myths surrounding one of the ten reincarnations of Lord Visanhu. They look like CGI animation but they are not. They are live action, heavily processed in Wisit's colorful style in post-production.

Apichatpong's Meteorites is another stand-out, just because it is so different -- "an at times unsettling, often hypnotic, and intimately honest look at daily life."

The other works are My First Report by Bhandit Rittakol, about a young female reporter stuck on an assignment in a rural, drought-stricken village; The Tale by Pornsak Sukongkarattanakul about a mule that the King rode; Silencio by Sivaroj Kongsakul, about a sound man vainly trying to record silence; The Most Beautiful Man in the World by Phuttipong Aroonpheng about a boy and his father, working to stake off some land to make way for a Royal Project irrigation dam; 9th Gift by Araya Booncherd, a hilarious hand-puppet play in which a young man and his dog vanquish an evil two-headed dragon; The Sanctuary of Sea by Pramtanee Wongprommed and Supharut Boonmayam, about a deaf high school student struggling with her studies.

I had hoped the package might be distributed on DVD, but it hasn't yet, though Thai PBS (the former iTV) periodically shows the films, with subtitles, though the picture is mostly obscured by market tickers and logos. And excerpts from the films are sometimes included in Thai film industry show reels. But Toronto will be the first chance for folks outside the Kingdom to see all the films together.

See also:

(Via Twitch; photo from Wisit Sasanatieng's Norasinghavatar via Twitch)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cannes Film Festival: Mike B.'s Sanctuary in pre-sales deals

Stuntman Mike B., recently seen in Brave, received a boost at the Cannes Film Market, where his next project, The Sanctuary, racked up a number a pre-sales deals.

The Sanctuary will be an English-language martial-arts actioner, written and directed by Brave helmer Thanapon Maliwan. It's to start filming in July. The sales agent is Action Slate Films, which has sold The Sanctuary to Luc Besson's EuropaCorp in France, Selectavision in Spain and Medya Vision for Turkey.

Here is the synopsis for The Sanctuary, from the American Film Market catalog (via Twitch):

A young Muay Thai warrior is accused of stealing a holy emerald that his master appointed him to protect. Now on the run from the police, he must retrieve the emerald from the mafia in order to prove his innocence and return the emerald to its holy place.

I watched Brave on DVD not too long ago. It's a decent DVD release and the movie has quite a few fun action sequences and jaw-dropping stunts, though also has some problems with shaky camera work and editing. Still, Mike B., a stuntman in Ong-Bak, is quite capable as a leading man, so it'll be interesting to see The Sanctuary.

See also:

(Via Hollywood Reporter)

Tartan USA closes

 border=Tartan Video USA, one of the prime distributors for English-subtitled Thai films on DVD in the U.S., has closed, according to a report by Variety.

Known for its Asia Extreme lineup of horror titles, Tartan USA's DVD releases include the original Shutter, as well as Dorm, Ghost of Mae Nak and the Pang Bros.' Ab-Normal Beauty and One Take Only. One of their recent releases was The Victim.

In all, Tartan USA's catalog numbers 101 titles, according to Variety.

A foreclosure sale was ordered to dispose of the film library and office furniture.

Wonder if anyone bought the rights to their catalog, and if so, who?

See also:

(Via Bloody Disgusting, Kaiju Shakedown)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cannes Film Festival: Duck Fight, Nonzee, Aditya make Thai Pitch

Last I heard about Pornchai Hongrattanaporn, a.k.a. Mr. Pink, was a couple of years ago when he was trying to get funding for an animated feature called Duck Fight.

Just the poster alone should attract investors, I would think. But maybe the folks who actually have money for this sort of thing are still thinking about the disaster cult film that was Howard the Duck.

The Bangkok Loco director is still trying to get funding for Duck Fight. He pitched it last year at the Tokyo Project Gathering.

This year he's joining three other Thai directors in Thai Pitch 2008, held on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Market.

Likely chief among them is Nonzee Nimibutr, who won US$15,000 in funds from the Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum (HAF) for his next project, Secret of the Butterfly, a psychological thriller written by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee about a woman who carries a virus that can destroy all the men in the world. The HAF prize goes towards post-production work at Technicolor Thailand. Nonzee's team hopes to start filming in Ocotber.

Also vying for funds is Aditya Assarat, trying again with his High Society, which he also pitched earlier this year at HAF.

Lastly, there's Nithiwat Tharatorn, one of the "Fan Chan Six" who's looking to make the followup to his solo feature debut Seasons Change. His project is a teen drama called Dear Galileo.

Thai Pitch 2008 is an initiative of producer Pantham Thongsang, with support from the Ministry of Culture's Office of Contemporary Art and Culture. It is similar to HAF and the Pusaan Promotion Plan, giving hopeful filmmakers a forum to pitch their ideas to interested investors. It took place yesterday in Cannes. Here's hope for some positive results.

See also:


Review: Forever Yours

[Note: This is another in a series about Ratana Pestonji, in commemoration of the centennial of the pioneering Thai filmmaker's birth.]

  • Directed by Tawee na Bangchang (a.k.a. Khru Marut)
  • Screenplay Tawee na Bangchang and Vichit Kounavudhi
  • Produced by and cinematography by Ratana Pestonji
  • Starring Ngamta Suphaphong, Chana Sri-Ubon, Hem Sukasem, Prajuab Reuk-yamdee
  • 1955; available on DVD from the Thai Film Foundation
  • Rating: 5/5

One of Thailand's most iconic films, for its image of lovers handcuffed together, Forever Yours (Chuafah Dinsalai), is a totally captivating experience. Though it is actually a small, simple story, it feels like an epic, as it starts out as a mirthful, music-filled romantic comedy and ends as a Shakespearian tragedy.

Set in a remote logging camp, the male protagonist is Sangmong (played by Pestonji's go-to leading man Chana Sri-Ubon), the young, educated nephew of the company's owner. Uncle Papo is a stumpy old man with a white, walrusy moustache. Later in the film, when things really get going, the uncle strokes that lip ferret, smoothing the bristles out and twirling them, like the best of the old-time movie villains. Even so, he remains a sympathetic, sad character.

A long-time widower, Papo has finally remarried, to a much younger woman, Yupadee (Ngamta Suphaphong), a cheeky, smiling bundle of personality with a kind and playful heart. The logging camp turns out with a brass band to greet Papo and his new bride at the river dock as they step off the boat, and as soon as Sangmong's eyes fall on Yupadee, he wishes he'd never seen her. She can't take her eyes off him either.

It's not a matter of if these two will get together but when.

Papo even encourages his nephew and his "aunt-in-law" to spend time together, hanging out in the uncle's house, tinkering away at the piano and singing. It's when they are out riding horses that the mischievous Yupadee fakes falling off so Sangmong can "rescue" her, which he does by clumsily trying to pick up her up. She screeches in pain and he nearly drops her back down again. It's this absurd scene that turns up on TV in Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Last Life in the Universe -- Yupadee wearing a bright red blouse and white riding breaches, and Sangmong struggling to pick up her up.

The young couple's courtship grows, with Sangmong holding out the longest before giving in to his feelings. Like water spilling over the falls, he can't hold back. Naturally, people around the camp begin to notice. Everyone sees what is going on. And of course, the old man is not blind.

Eventually, the old man catches the couple in the act and out come the handcuffs. At first it's taken for a joke, with Papo's right-hand man Tip going so far as actually laughing. But as the months go by, with days being ticked off on the calendar. Locked together, Sangmong and Yupadee are getting on each other's nerves. The ridiculousness of the situation is compounded by Sangmong's not being able to button up his shirt, because he can't get his handcuffed arm through one sleeve. So his shirt is half draped over him. Yupadee favors a shoulderless or strapless dress, so it's easier for her to manage. But it's not funny. The novelty has worn off. Sympathies start to swing the other way and everyone wonders if the old man has the key.

Not only is Forever Yours a great story, it is filmed beautifully. One dissolve in particular, with a scene fading into the light of an oil lamp, is particularly poetic. The first half of the film is set in the outdoors, with shots of a lumber train pulling a string of gigantic logs, and a waterfall. The second half stays inside the house where Sangmong and Yupadee are confined. They can stay together, living and loving, but must remain in the house, made prisoners of their love.

See also