Friday, January 28, 2011

Lifescapes South East Asian Film Festival, Chiang Mai, February 3-6

Uruphong Raksasad's Agrarian Utopia and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives are the opening and closing films of the the Lifescapes South East Asian Film Festival at Payap University in Chiang Mai from February 3 to 6.

The fest focuses on regional issues and human-rights struggles with films from Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.

Other Thai films include Kon Jon Poo Ying Yai (คนจนผู้ยิ่งใหญ่), an unreleased work by Sueb Boonsong Nakphoo that "explores the people in rural Thailand, living in the hardest place at the hardest time", and shorts from Rung Uan, a Chiang Rai NGO that trains young filmmakers.

Other highlights include Bradley Cox's documentary Who Killed Chea Vichea?, about the death of the Cambodian labor leader; Only Love, the latest feature by Laotian director Anousone Sirsackda; The Prison Where I Live, on the jailed Burmese comedian Zarganar; and The Most Secret Place on Earth, a documentary looking at the lingering aftermath of the CIA's "secret war" in Laos.

Aside from film screenings, there's talks, among them a panel discussion on censorship featuring Tanwarin Sukhaphisit, director of the banned Insects in the Backyard.

The closing film, which will take place at the Major Cineplex Airport Plaza, will be the Chiang Mai premiere of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which despite having been shown around Thailand in limited theatrical engagements last year, missed Apichatpong's adopted hometown.

The full schedule is at the festival website.

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