Friday, August 7, 2009

Sawasdee Bangkok - shorts by Wisit, Pen-ek, Aditya and Kongdej - to premiere in Toronto

The Toronto International Film Festival will have the world premiere of four shorts by four of Thailand's best filmmakers -- Wisit Sasanatieng, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Aditya Assarat and Kongdej Jaturanrasamee.

Sawasdee Bangkok will screen in the Contemporary World Cinema section. From the TIFF press release, via Twitch:

Directed by four distinctly talented Thai directors, this collection of tales about Bangkok is less a love letter than a funny, touching and surprising expression of the city’s reality.

These four shorts must be part of the larger nine-segment Saneh Bangkok (Charming Bangkok) project by TV Thai, which Kong Rithdee detailed in a Bangkok Post story earlier this year.

Wisit, the visionary director of Tears of the Black Tiger and Citizen Dog, has a segment called Sightseeing, which stars "Tak" Bongkot Kongmalai as a homeless blind woman who is taken on a city tour by an angel, played by Tantai Prasertku.

Pen-ek, who already has Nymph in the Toronto line-up this year, has a segment starring Ploy Horwang as a clubber who has an encounter with a stranger (Nymph's Peter Noppachai) after her car breaks down.

Aditya, whose debut feature Wonderful Town was critically acclaimed the world over, has a segment with the working title Bui Khem, which stars buddies Ananda Everingham and Louis Scott, basically playing themselves and reflecting on life in Bangkok and New York City.

Kongdej, whose flair for oddness can be seen in such films as Midnight My Love (Cherm) and Kod (Handle Me With Care), has a short called Pee Makham, about the "tamarind ghosts", a euphemism for the prostitutes around Sanam Luang park in Bangkok.

Now, I don't know if Sawasdee Bangkok is the new title for the whole nine-film Saneh Bangkok project -- it was thought back in April that the title might change -- or if it's just the title for this compilation for Toronto.

Anyway, this adds to the already-strong presence for Thai cinema at Toronto this year, with Pen-ek's Nymph in the Visions program, Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning in Midnight Madness and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's shorts A Letter to Uncle Boonmee and Phantoms of Nabua in the Wavelengths and Future Projects line-ups.

TIFF runs from September 10 to 19.

Update: Kong has more details about the shorts on his blog.

(Via Variety, Hollyood Reporter, Screen Daily, IndieWire)

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