Thursday, November 4, 2010

WFFBKK 2010: The Thai shorts

Four Seasons and Woman I, the two short films that competed at the Venice International Film Festival in September will be among the selection of shorts and experimental works at the 8th World Film Festival of Bangkok.

Chaisiri Jiwarangsan's Four Seasons, about a migrant worker on her day off, is part of the Guts Shorts program 2. An award winner at the recent Doi Saket International Film Festival, it's playing alongside two others from Thailand: the orientalist kaleidoscope Sahara Mosaic by Fern Silva and I Did Not Dream Last Night/Looking in Gods Eye by Taiki Sakpisit.

Nuntanat Duangtisarn's Woman I, which stars Nophand Boonyai and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's regular actress Jenjira Pongpas, "is about a man who believes himself to be the centre of the universe, surrounded by all the women in his life. Nop, a downhearted film director who was disappointed in love, begins to make a new film by creating a story about people whom he loves and is intimate with to compensate for his missing past." It's in the WFFBKK's Short Wave line-up, and the 20-minute film is playing with To Serve, a Belgian documentary on Indonesian domestic workers.

Another standalone short is First Time, a music video by Moderndog guitarist May-T, directed by Salinee Khemcharas. It's in the Music & Dance a la Carte lineup, and is playing alongside Zanzibar Musical Club.

Yet another is Too Yen Bin, "a series of weird comic sketches", directed by Nathan Homsup. It's paired with the Argentinian drama What I Love the Most.

A couple others are Cul De Sac Forest by Lau Kek Huat, about "a Malay Communist love story untold", playing with the documentary Jacques Doillon - Words and Emotion, and When The End of Winter is Almost Spring, a Singaporean musical-dance piece by Sherman Ong, playing with Three Weeks Later, a landscape study on the aftermath of the Chilean earthquake.

There's even animation, in the Anima-Short section, with Pleng Pry by Yuree Kensaku and Yongvit Santanaphanich.

A Suspended Moment (Nai Pawang), a medium-length film (58 min.) made in Japan by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng is in the Guts Nouveau section.

A mysterious, unnamed filmmaker is shooting footage of the limpid blue sky and lush green foliage in a steamy, summer forest of dappled chiaroscuro light. His camera comes upon a little girl, Hana, all alone and crying. He pauses, then bids her come with him.

A tormented young man is running wildly distraught, freezing and shivering violently in a dream-like winter forest of barren trees. He cries out in his pain and loneliness, finally collapsing to the ground in suffering. Shin and his father, Kenji, board, for a destination known only to Kenji.

At night, Kenji has disappeared, and their journey ends on the sea. The filmmaker and Hana walk out of the summer forest and into the winter forest, where they discover the cold and suffering young man. The filmmaker wraps his arms tightly around him to warm his naked body. Only this warmth can save his life.

Phuttiphong talks more about his film with Kong Rithdee in the Bangkok Post, saying he sees "his movie as a fusion of a personal reflection when his father recently passed away, and his long-time love of two experimental films from the 1970s: David Lynch's Eraserhead and Shuji Terayama's Pastoral: To Die in the Country."

There's a trailer at YouTube, embedded below.

Phuttiphong also has A Tale of Heaven in the Guts Short program 1.

Another from Japan is Kong Pahurak's Shinda Gaijin, about a foreigner's body mysteriously turning up in a Japanese household's bathtub. It's in the Short Wave 2 package.

And there's a special SEA Shorts program:

  • Cages, Keith Halstead, Vietnam
  • Found, Paramita Nath, Canada/Laos
  • It's Not Raining Outside, Yosep Anggi Noen, Indonesia
  • Love Me Love My Dog, Wasunan Hutawach, Thailand
  • One Day in June, Daniel Hui, Singapore
  • Mickey, Wesley Leon Aroozoo, Singapore
  • Do Not Look, Pam Miras, Philippines
  • After The Wind, Tulapop Sanjaroen, Thailand
  • The Boy, Mark Tan, Singapore
  • All That Remains, Wichanon Somumjarn, Thailand

Love Me Love My Dog by Wasunan, After the Wind by Tulapop and All That Remains by Wichanon are three productions from Anocha Suwichakornpong's Electric Eel Films. After the Wind had previously been featured in competition at the 13th Thai Short Film & Video Festival.

Anocha herself, of course, will serve the Lunch segment of the world-premiering pan-Asian female-directors' trilogy Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, but I'll have more on that later.

Download the schedule (PDF) at the festival website and see what you can.

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