Friday, November 11, 2011

Roundup: Eternity and a flood of other Thai films around the world

Thailand is still coping with the severe flooding around Bangkok, which has disrupted the movie business, with a dozen or cinemas closed and World Film Festival of Bangkok postponed.

Movie-industry PR guy Scott Rosenberg, hit by floods himself, talked to the local multiplex chains to find out how they are doing.

Film programmer and publisher Sonthaya Subyen was flooded out and lost some 16mm films including footage of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Mysterious Object at Noon, according to the Bangkok Post, which also details how the Thai Film Archive's been surviving.

The release of some big movies like Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Headshot and Prachya Pinkaew's The Kick have been delayed until next month though some other Thai movies have gone ahead with their releases, which I've been noting on the Bangkok Cinema Scene blog, and done well in spite of the floods, according to Film Business Asia.

And there's stuff happening for Thai films elsewhere in the region and across the globe. Here's a look:

  • The Cinemanila International Film Festival started today. It's always been an important platform for Thai and other Southeast Asian films. This year's roster will really confuse audiences as there are two films from Thailand called Eternity. One goes by the Thai title Tee Rak (ที่รัก). The debut feature by indie director Sivaroj Kongsakul is in the Southeast Asian Competition. And that other Eternity is Chua Fah Din Salai (ชั่วฟ้าดินสลาย), the lavish, big-budget costume drama by ML Bhandevanop Devakula and starring Ananda Everingham and Ploy Chermarn. It's in the non-competition Asian Cinema program along with Apichatpong Weerasethakul's celebrated Cannes Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Quattro Hong Kong 2, which has a segment by Apichatpong. The musical documentary Baby Arabia is playing in the documentary section. Check out the whole line-up at the festival website.
  • That other Eternity, that is the costume love-triangle drama by "Mom Noi" Bhandevanop, will also be featured at the Asean Film Festival in Bali on November 16 and 17. It's held in conjunction with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and will include seminars other functions.
  • And, to really confuse matters, the indie Eternity is playing on Sunday at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. Just to be clear, this is Sivaroj's Tee Rak, not that other one. Twitch's Mack has a review.
  • Classic Thai films are screening in New York City at the Museum of Modern Art's "In Focus: Fortissimo Films" program, which includes Wisit Sasanatieng's Tears of the Black Tiger, Pen-ek Ratanruang's Last Life in the Universe and The Eye by the Pang brothers. The program is a tribute to the Dutch-Hong Kong film company that helped introduce Asian films to the world stage in the early part of this century. Thai films especially benefitted from the guiding hand of Fortissimo co-founder Wouter Barendrecht, who died in 2009 at the age of 43. The Hollywood Reporter has more on the MoMA film series.
  • Thai films were featured at the recent American Film Market, where a Thai Night was planned. Yuthlert Sippapak's boyband action flick Bangkok Kung Fu was screened there, represented by Golden Network Asia. Sahamongkolfilm International was promoting Prachya Pinkaew's The Kick and it picked up worldwide sales rights to 23:59, a Singaporean boot-camp horror thriller.
  • And back closer to Bangkok, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's multimedia exhibition For Tomorrow, For Tonight goes on show from November 26 to February 10 at the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

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