Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bangkok fight flick Only God Forgives enters the fray in Cannes

No Thai films made the official selection announced today for the 66th Cannes Film Festival, but Thailand still has a role to play at the prestigious event as the setting for Only God Forgives, which is one of the main competition titles.

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, Only God Forgives reunites the Danish auteur with his Drive star Ryan Gosling, who plays a gangster who operates a Muay Thai gym in Bangkok. He runs into conflict with a steel-pipe-toting Thai policeman portrayed Vithaya Pansringarm, the soft-spoken actor who previously played a monk detective in Tom Waller's Mindfulness and Murder.

Other stars include Kristin Scott Thomas and Thai singer-actress Ratha "Yaya Ying" Po-ngam, who was recently on the Bangkok big screen in the remake of Jan Dara.

Refn, who took the Cannes best director prize in 2011 for Drive, filmed Only God Forgives here in 2011. A short documentary on YouTube captures Refn during filming in Bangkok's Chinatown.

The red-band teaser for Only God Forgives (embedded below) hit the Web a couple of weeks ago. It features everyone's name written in neon Thai script.

And just to show how deeply Refn geeked out on Thai culture while he was living here with his family, the trailer features a incongruously cutesy Thai pop song, "Tur Kue Kwan Fun" ("You Are My Dream"), a 1995 release by a band called Proud.

Only God Forgives is among the titles tipped for Cannes' main Palme d'Or competition, which also includes Steven Soderbergh's made-for-TV Liberace biopic Behind the Candleabra, Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen brothers and Nebraska by Alexander Payne. The Palme d'Or jury is headed by Steven Spielberg.

The edgier Un Certain Regard competition, which has welcomed many Thai films in past years, features three Southeast Asian entries: Cambodia’s Rithy Panh with L’Image Manquante and the Philippines’ Lav Diaz with Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan and Adolfo Alix Jr. with Death March.

Film Business Asia details the Asian selection.

Update: Two more trailers have hit the Web.

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