Monday, January 26, 2009

Classic films and shorts at Fringe Festival No. 9

Bangkok's annual Fringe Festival is so far on the fringes this year it's not even in Bangkok.

Patravadi Theater's showcase of contemporary and traditional arts this year is being held in Ratchaburi, about two hours outside the capital.

It's being held in an old market town called Chet Samian. It has a railway station, and it's on the banks of the Mae Klong River.

Fringe Festival No. 9 got under way over the weekend, but the film portion of the program, put together by the Thai Film Foundation, starts next weekend, January 30 to February 1. Remaining programs will be on February 20-22 and February 27 to March 1. The programs start at around 5pm.

The lineup is a mix of classics from the 1950s and '60s, including most of Ratana Pestonji's features, plus recent independent short films, shown in an old-timey, open-air screening.

Here's the film lineup:

Friday, January 30
  • True Nature -- A short film by Thawatpong Tangsajjapoj (6 min.)
  • Paradise Island (Koh Sawad Had Sawan) -- Sombat Metanee and Aranya Namwong star in this musical love story set on Koh Samui. Directed by Prince AnusornmongkolganIt, it was made in 1969, long before the island had been paved over by developers. Sombat plays the playboy son of one family, while Aranya is the business-minded daughter of a rival family. They make a bet on who can make their family's coconut plantation more successful. If the guy wins, the girl must marry him. If he loses, he has to give his business to her.

Saturday, January 31
  • Nongharn -- Directed by Panus Boonnun (14 min.)
  • Parallel Journey -- Directed by Jakrawal Nilthamrong (8 min.)
  • Blind -- Directed by Kanjana Akasin (30 min.)
  • Run -- Directed by Watthanadech Ketsuan (15 min.)
  • A Day in a Posit+ive Life -- Directed by Volunteers of AIDS Access, Chiang Rai (17 min.)

Sunday, February 1
  • Country Hotel -- This Ratana Pestonji's insane cavalcade of comedy, music and film-noir drama from 1957.

Friday, February 20
  • Finale Fantasie -- Directed by Teerapon Panyayuttakarn (31 min.)
  • The Laundry Room -- Directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya (9 min.)
  • Our Monument -- Directed by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng ( 10 min.)
  • Love…Time -- Directed by Knidtha Khuwyou (28 min.)
  • I Wanna Be A Red Fish -- Directed by Boonsri Tangtrongsin (11 min.)

Saturday, February 21
  • Memoir of the old Bangkok -- A short films collection by National Artist filmmaker Thae Prakas-vudhisarn (22 min.)
  • Black Silk (Prae Dum) -- Ratana Pestonji's 1961 classic is regarded as Thailand's first film noir. It was also one of the earliest Thai films to play overseas. It was selected for the Berlin Film Festival.

Sunday, February 22
  • Forever Yours -- This 1955 tragic love story by Tawee Na Bangchang (with Ratana Pestonji as cinematographer) is iconic for its image of a young couple chained together after they are caught having an affair by the woman's husband.

Friday, February 27
  • The Invisible City -- Directed by Boonsri Tangtrongsin (12 min.)
  • Tadpole -- Directed by Pittaya Jankotr, Sumantana Jenjitman and Pannapa Saewong (15 min.)
  • You Never Know -- Directed by Parinya Pornsuksawadd (20 min.)
  • Shan at the Dawn -- Directed by Nattachai Jaitita (30 min.)
  • I’m Fine Sa-bai-dee-kah -- Directed by Tanwarin Sukkhapisit (4 min.)

Saturday, February 28
  • Home Video -- Directed by Yanin Pongsuwan (14 min.)
  • Sugar Is Not Sweet (Nam Tan Mai Wan) -- Ratana Pestonji's last feature film, made in 1965, was envisioned by him as his most commercial film yet. Gobsmackingly colorful, it's about a star-crossed romance.

Sunday, March 1
  • Dark Heaven -- Ratana Pestonji's second feature, made in 1958, is an adaptation of a stage drama about a young homeless woman falling in love with a trash collector (Chalee Intharawijit). He's then drafted to fight in a war, and the woman is taken in by a rich lady. He returns from the fighting, blinded by an explosion, leaving the young woman conflicted.

By the way, Country Hotel, Dark Heaven and Forever Yours have been available on DVD from the Thai Film Foundation for quite sometime now.

Update: And in celebration of the Pestonji centennial, the remaining two surviving features in his filmography -- Black Silk and Sugar Is Not Sweet -- are available on DVD from the Foundation. (Any other Firefox users having problems accessing that page?)

Also, the Dance and Theatre blog at The Nation has more on the festival's offerings.

(Cross-published at The Nation Weblog)


  1. DVDs of Black Silk and Sugar Is Not Sweet are now available, and I've reflected that in the post now.

    I am having problems accessing this link at the Thai Film Foundation. Any other Firefox users getting a prompt to install the latest version of Flash? I have the latest version, but it's not letting me in. I've not had problems using Firefox with any other websites. It does work in Explorer, which I find pretty annoying.

  2. Be careful.... it could be a "koobface" variant spoof.

    I'd pop over to the Sun Microsystems site itself and check to see if your flash version is current. Don't automatically click on ANY link prompt for Flash upgrades.

    Better safe than sorry.


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