Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mobile Men, Stories on Human Rights in Worldwide Short Film Festival

Stories on Human Rights, which includes Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Mobile Men, will screen at the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto.

I had a chance to view all 22 films in the United Nations/European Union omnibus last month in a screening in Bangkok with Apichatpong present at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand. It's a strong package. Here's what I had to say about Mobile Men:

Mobile Men features the filmmaker operating the camera himself, riding in the back of a pickup truck as it speeds down the highway with two other men. One of the men is a taciturn soul, a Thai-Yai man, who points to his Converse canvas shoes and other articles of clothing. Then another man grabs the lens of the camera, and he steals the show -- a guy from Surin in Northeast Thailand who becomes increasingly bold about showing off his tattoos, finally whipping off his shirt, and putting the microphone that had been taped to his chest on his elaborately inked left shoulder while he screams to illustrate how painful getting the tattoo was. But all you can hear is the wind whipping past.

You can watch the shorts at ART for the World's YouTube channel, but there's something to be said for watching the whole compilation in one go with an audience.

Interestingly, Apichatpong's short wasn't the only one from Southeast Asia -- Serbian filmmaker Marina Abramovic went to Luang Prabang, Laos, to make Dangerous Games, about schoolchildren in military uniform, shooting each other with toy guns. It's one of the more entertaining and poignant shorts in the lineup. Watch it. I've embedded it below.

The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs from June 16 to 21. Stories on Human Rights screens on the closing day.

(Via Twitch)

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