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,,

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