Thursday, June 10, 2010

San Alai: Payut Ngaokrachang

The Thai Film Archive and the Thai Film Foundation will pay tribute on Saturday to the late pioneering animator Payut Ngaokrachang (ปยุต เงากระจ่าง), who died on May 27 at age 81.

Activities at the Sri Salaya Theatre in Nakhon Pathom include a screening of Payut's first animated short, 1955's Haed Mahasajan (เหตุมหัศจรรย์), about a traffic cop using Thai dance to direct cars. He then sees a woman's zipper come undone and the distraction results in a pile-up.

Payut's daughter, actress Nantana Ngaokrachang, will be there to make her hand-and-feet impressions in the cement outside the cinema. She's best known for her starring role in Cherd Songsri's 1977 classic romantic tragedy Plae Kao (The Old Scar). She appeared in around 14 other films in the 1970s and '80s, but has since then been living in the U.S.

Her father had made his impressions, including a funny drawing, at the Sri Salaya in 2008.

Payut directed Thailand's first animated feature, The Adventure of Sudsakorn, which was released in 1979. Damaging his eyesight in the near-singlehanded animation process, it was his only feature. His other shorts include an anti-communist propaganda piece for the U.S. Information Service with Hanuman the white monkey god fighting a red monkey, and he directed an educational short for girls called My Way in 1992 with funding from Japan. He also made TV commercials in collaboration with Thai film industry pioneer Ratana Pestonji.

The annual Thai Short Film & Video Festival's animation prize is the Payut Ngaokrachang Award, a silver medallion designed by Payut himself.

San Alai: Payut Ngaokrachang (In Memory of Payut Ngaokrachang) gets under way at 2.30 on Saturday. Poet Jiranan Pitpreecha will give a reading, there will be the movie screening and Nantana will make her impressions. It all runs until about 6.

The Film Archive is easily reachable from Bangkok's Victory Monument on air-con bus 515. It's about a one-hour ride and the Film Archive (หอ ภาพยนตร์(องค์การมหาชน), Hor Pappayon (Onggan Mahachon)), identified by the bright yellow Thai Film Museum, is near the end of the line on Phuttamonthon Soi 5 in Salaya. Call (02) 482 2013-5 or (02) 482 1087-8.

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