Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mom Noi's 'story' of Jan Dara is now a mere 'chapter'

Director ML Bhandevanop "Mom Noi" Devakula's much anticipated and hyped remake of Jan Dara is now a two-parter with the title stated as Chapter of Jan Dara (จันดารา ปฐมบท, Jan Dara Pathommabot) and not the more-encompassing Story of Jan Dara, The Nation reports.

Part 1 opens in Thai cinemas this week, while Part 2 is still in the works, though a lot of footage for it has already been shot.

It's the third film version of the 1966 novel by Utsana Phleungtham – a tale about a 1930s Siamese hi-so family in which sexual abuse and incest were the rule of the household.

It was previously adapted in 1977, with Aranya Namwong among the cast, but is mostly known today for its 2001 version by Nonzee Nimibutr.

With his sense for the breathtakingly theatrical and sweeping melodrama, complete with elaborate art direction and stage-worthy performances, Mom Noi greatly expands on previously filmed versions of the story. What we'll see now covers Jan's tumultuous life from birth to age 17.

Mom Noi is on a remake roll since his return to filmmaking after a 13-year hiatus with 2008's Chua Fah Din Salai – another erotic-novel adaptation that had been filmed before – and Umong Pha Muang (The Outrage), last year's Lanna-flavored "adaptation" of Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon.

But, he's testy when people criticize him for doing a remake, and he insists this will be a different Jan Dara.

He also dismisses critics who say he's only trying to titillate, as he tells The Nation:

"People would do a lot better to examine what is essentially a socially uplifting story than come down on it because they feel it's obscene. All the entertainment media seem capable of doing is to dwell on how naked the actors will be and what the iconic ice-cube seduction scenes will look like!

"I am almost 60! Do you really think someone of my age wants to do an erotic movie for pleasure?

"We are all born from the consequences of sex but Thai people are too hypocritical to talk about it or see it naturally. They feel awkward seeing erotic scenes at the cinema, but they are okay to watch them privately at home. That's why the writer states at the beginning of the book that this novel is not for hypocrites."

Love of Siam heartthrob Mario Maurer stars, playing young Jan, whose abusive father is a sex-addicted womanizer. Much of the story will deal with Jan's first brushes with romance and his struggles to have a normal relationship with a girl his own age, in spite of the negative influences of his home life.

The women of Jan Dara include "Tak" Bongkot Kongmalai as Aunt Waad, who is the nurturing maternal figure in Jan's life since his own mother died under mysterious circumstances, putting Jan's social-climbing father in control of the family finances. Ratha "Yaya Ying" Po-ngam takes on the role of Khun Bunluang – played in Nonzee's version by Hong Kong actress Christy Chung – the worldly seductress who moves into the household as Jan's father's minor wife. And, controversially, Japanese adult-video star Shou Nishino is cast as Khun Kaew, Jan's half-sister and major thorn in his side.

There's an English-subtitled trailer and it's embedded below.


  1. Looks like they've spent some serious money on it. Pity they couldn't then spare a few hundred baht more and get a native English speaker to cast an eye over the subtitles.

    1. A competent professional English-language proofreader/editor would charge more than a few hundred for the job.


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