Tuesday, July 21, 2009

World Film Festival of Bangkok has Uncle Boonmee, Quarantine

The World Film Festival of Bangkok has let drop a couple of early titles that have the potential to be controversial. Both are premieres of one sort or another.

One will be the Asian premiere of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's A Letter to Uncle Boonmee. The other will the Bangkok festival premiere of Thunska Pansittivorakul's This Area Is Under Quarantine.

A Letter to Uncle Boonmee is a short film produced as part of Apichatpong's multi-platform Primitive project, in which Apichatpong ventured to the village of Nabua, Nakhon Phanom in northeast Thailand. He reconstructs (and deconstructs?) the history of the village, where violent anti-communist purges were carried out by the Thai government in the 1960s. The short is described at length on the Animate Projects page. Boonmee premiered in February in Munich, where the Primitive video-art installation was staged. It was also shown in Berlin and it won two the grand prize and a jury prize at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Before it comes to the World Film Festival of Bangkok, it will be an installation at the Australian Cinematheque at the Gallery of Modern Art in South Bank, Queensland, Australia from October 7 to November 1. Update: It'll also be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.

More political statements come from maverick director Thunska in his documentary feature This Area Is Under Quarantine, which is a look at the explicit sexual explorations of two young men contrasted with recollections of 2004's Tak Bai incident in which 85 Muslim prisoners suffocated in Thai army trucks and Thunska's views on the 2005 hanging of two Iraqi teenagers. I saw Quarantine in a special preview last year in Bangkok but its official premiere was in Rotterdam and it was in competition at the Torino Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. It's also been screened at the 13th Queer Lisboa in Portugal and the Q! Film Festival in Indonesia. Chiang Mai residents will get Quarantine on July 30 as part of the program, Liberalizing and Personalizing of Film: Short films by Thunska Pansittivorakul.

The World Film Festival of Bangkok already has films from around 30 countries and it will continue to accept submissions until August 20 (not October 1 as stated earlier). WFFBKK is set for November 6 to 15.

(Via Daily Xpress)

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