Sunday, September 28, 2008

Make time for Citizen Juling

The Bangkok International Film Festival has one more screening of the documentary Citizen Juling on Monday afternoon at 4.10. Friday night's Asian Premiere was pretty well packed, and the film -- all 3.6 hours of it -- was received enthusiastically.

Directors Ing K, Manit Sriwanichpoom and Senator Kraisak Choonhavan were all present for a Q&A session on Friday and they expect to be back again on Monday.

Manit says the film has already been invited to make its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, and plans are to show the film on the festival circuit over the next year. No one seems certain when it might be shown again in Thailand.

For Ing K, a writer, painter and filmmaker, the screening of Citizen Juling at the Bangkok International Film Festival is a landmark. Her last film, My Teacher Eats Biscuits, was made 10 years ago and was to open the (just plain old no international) Bangkok Film Festival in 1998 but was pulled at the last minute by the police censorship squad.

"This is the first time one of my films has been shown in a Thai cinema," she said on Friday.

Documentaries of the scope of Citizen Juling are rare in Thailand. The last one I know of that even comes close is The Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong. And Citizen Juling complements that film. It was an excellent move by Truth Be Told director Pimpaka Towira, also a programmer of this year's Bangkok Int'l, to make Citizen Juling a part of the fest.

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