Saturday, February 5, 2011

IFFR 2011: Eternity (Tee Rak) wins Tiger Award

Sivaroj Kongsakul's debut feature Eternity (ที่รัก, Tee Rak) is among the three Tiger Award winners at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The other two winners are The Journals of Musan by Park Jung-Bum of South Korea and Finisterrae by Sergio Caballero of Spain.

In all, 14 first or second films competed in the 2011 Tiger Awards Competition. The jury included Thai filmmaker Wisit Sasanatieng, as well as director Lucrecia Martel of Argentina, former IFFR director Sandra den Hamer, director of the EYE Film Institute Netherlands and former IFFR director; Romanian filmmaker Andrei Ujica and Sonic Youth musician Lee Ranaldo, who put on a solo concert as part of the awards ceremony.

Here's the jury statement about Eternity:

"With a great sense of cinematic duration, this film builds its own universe, finding its own pacing, so consistently, to tell its particular story. A film that seems on the surface to be about death but which is really about love, a beautiful and delicate love story."

Produced by Aditya Assarat, Umpornpol Yugula, Soros Sukhum, the film was supported by IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund.

Eternity premiered at the Pusan International Film Festival last year and was the opener of the World Film Festival of Bangkok.

The film deals with the memories Sivaroj has of his father, who died when the filmmaker was very young. The story tracks the man through the stages of his life and afterlife, from a ghost haunting his boyhood home, to the romance of his wife and finally to years after his death when memories of him have faded but longing by loved ones still lingers.

Sivaroj talked a bit at the fest about his film. Here's a bit from the IFFR website:

It’s an immersive experience, and one that Kongsakul doesn’t mind audiences scratching their heads over. “I didn’t expect the audience would understand the whole film, but everybody would have at least one shot that would trigger something for them,” he says. “I didn’t want to trap people into specific feelings.”


The three parts of the story are marked by formal changes. Kongsakul was especially attentive to sound, using surround sound to capture a natural ambience and shifting registers. “The first part is intended to be a bit ghost-like,” he says. “The sound there was more mysterious – I didn’t really understand it myself. We were trying to get the sound of the feeling of hurt, of separating from your body – not pain, exactly, but lots of confusing things together.” The result is a kind of ambient drone.

Early in the festival, the poster for Eternity was selected by's Adrian Curry as the Movie Poster of the Week.

Other Thai films at Rotterdam this year were Immortal Woman by Jakrawal Nilthamrong, which was in the short film competition, Wisit Sasanatieng's The Red Eagle, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner by Wang Jing, Anocha Suwichakornpong and Kaz Cai and the shorts All That Remains by Wichanon Somumjarn, My Father by Pimpaka Towira, Cherie Is Korean-Thai by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit and A Tale of Heaven by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng.

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