Friday, October 15, 2010

Natee Utarit: After Painting and Thai films in Singapore

Thai artist Natree Utarit has an exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum called After Painting,
and accompanying the exhibition are Thai films in the museum's Moving Image Gallery at 8 Queen Street.

There are three features: Agrarian Utopia, The Convert and Mekhong Full Moon Party, and a package of short films, including the recent R.D. Pestonji top-prize-winner at the 14th Thai Short Film & Video Festival, Cherie is Korean-Thai.

"Depicting contemporary Thai experience, and featuring many locally specific preoccupations and daily practices, these films tackle topics such as political struggle, folkloric belief, religious schism, and cultural amalgamation. This screening programme highlights the work of young-up-and coming Thai directors," says the museum.

Agrarian Utopia screens tonight (Friday, October 15) at 7:30. Uruphong Raksasad's prize-winning documentary chronicles two rice-farming families as they work a shared plot of land and struggle against the elements, spiraling debts and land seizure. It won the Unesco award at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and been awarded prizes in Toronto, Brussels and Rotterdam.

Short Films from Thailand is on Saturday, October 16 at 3pm. Leading off the line-up is a new short by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit Panatipata. "Trouble ensues when Kai seeks out unusual remedies to heal a painful leg. A comedy about food, families and belief." Made for TV3 in Thailand, the short features four prominent actresses: stage actress Sawanee Uthumma, Apinya Sakuljareonsuk from Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy, Nantarat Sawaddikul from Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century, Anchalee Saisoontorn from Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town.

Others in the line-up are Nawapol's Cherie is Korean-Thai, about a soaps actress interviewing two construction laborers as research for a role; Man and Gravity, Jakrawal Nilthamrong' 11-minute short about an overburdened motorcycle; Immortal Woman, by Jakrawal, which I previously viewed in Bangkok as part of an art installation; I Did Not Dream Last Night / Looking in God’s Eye by Taiki Sakpisit, described as "a series of tableaux exploring the gaze of people immersed in time and space"l Culture and Nature, by Prap Boonpan ("Thailand prepares to celebrate the father on his special day.") and The White Short Film / The Candle Light, also by Prap, which won top prize at the 13th Thai Short Film & Video Festival. With young couple having a conversation about Thai politics, I think it's the first time it'll be shown with English subtitles.

The Convert, showing on Friday, October 22 at 7.30, is the 2008 documentary by Panu Aree, Kaweenipon Ketprasit and Kong Rithdee about "a young, fun-loving Buddhist woman living in Bangkok, who marries Ake, a Muslim man from southern Thailand", and undergoes conversion to Islam and moves to the South, where "she encounters a variety of joys and disenchantments".

Mekhong Full Moon Party (15 ค่ำ เดือน 11, Sib ha kham doan sib ed), closes the series on Saturday, October 23 at 3pm. Jira Maligool's now-classic 2002 comedy-drama chronicles the phenomenon that occurs every October along the Mekong at Nong Khai, when mysterious fireballs shoot out of the river and are thought to be the work of the supernatural naga serpents. It was the winner of nine Subhannahongsa Awards and the 2003 FIPRESCI award at the Hong Kong fest.

(Thanks Stefan!)

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