Sunday, March 1, 2009

Agrarian Utopia at HKIFF; Blood Maple horror at HAF

Before it screens in Singapore, Uruphong Raksadad's Agrarian Utopia will be playing at the Hong Kong International Film Festival as part of the Indie Power program.

As far as I can tell from browsing through the whole schedule, it's the only Thai film in the program -- bit of a muted presence for Thai films in Hong Kong this year.

But the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) has one more: Blood Maple and the Passion of the Kid, a project by former GTH post-production specialist Chartchai Ketnust and producer Pantham Thongsang.

There's a very detailed synopsis and director's statement at the HAF website (PDF). Here's the introduction:

The story takes place in a small alley adjacent to Wat Chanasongkram Temple, close to Khao San Road. It’s home to local villagers, the mafia, GI wives, disabled war veterans, the local barber, a vocational student, a Thammasat University girl, and the police inspector’s wife. During the early rise of democracy, when Hollywood films such as Romeo and Juliet arrived in the box office alongside Dien Bien Fu Prison Break, American troops were stationed in Thailand and their wives filled the streets. Apollo 11 reached the moon and Neil Armstrong visited Thailand. Children loved Hanuman and the 7 Heroes while Mitr Chaibancha (Thailand’s Elvis) had just passed away leaving women - young and old - in tears as they swore to themselves “Mitchai lives on.” And this story begins in a small barber shop along Khao san Road in 1971 when the barber’s son falls in love with the mysterious girl who moves in next door carrying a coffin.

With Thailand's political unrest of the 1970s as a backdrop, the story blends the student protests and the communist insurgency with a ghost. It should be pretty slick coming from Chartchai, who had a hand in the post-production on such thrillers as Alone, Dorm and 4Bia, as well as the nostalgia-infused Tin Mine and the schoolboy documentary Final Score.

(Via Asian Cinema - While on the Road)

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