Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Birth of the Seanama reborn in Filmvirus Double Bill

Ten years have passed since the singularly strange Thai experimental film Birth of the Seanama first graced a movie screen.

So it's due for a revival, and will show as part of the opener for a new film series, Filmvirus Double Bill, in which Filmvirus mastermind Wiwat "Filmsick" Lerwiwatwongsa invited his cinephile friends to curate a film program. The double bills start this Sunday, February 23, and runs until March 30 and then April 20 and 27 at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan.

Directed by Sasithorn Ariyavicha, 2004's 70-minute Birth of the Seanama depicts Bangkok rising up from the primordial ooze and then sinking back into it. It's in black and white and totally silent, with no music and no dialogue. There are subtitles in a totally made-up alphabet, though they are helpfully translated into English.

The opening film of the Filmvirus Double Bill is HSP: There is No Escape From the Terrors of the Mind, an Irish-funded feature by Iranian filmmmaker Rouzbeh Rashidi. That's at 12.30, followed at 2.45pm by Birth of the Seanama.

Other double bills are from the UK, Separation (1968, Jack Bond) and The Other Side of the Underneath (1972, Jane Arden) on March 2, the Filipino films All Be Damned (1990, Lino Brocka) and Working Girl (1984, Ishmael Bernal) on March 9 and "Euro-centric" Italian, Dillinger è morto (1969, Marco Ferreri) and Dossier 51 (1978, Michel Deville) on March 16.

"Cinema politics" enters the picture on March 23 with Silent Wedding (2008, Horatiu Malale, Romania) and After the Battle (2012, Yousry Nasrallah, Egypt). And March ends with a pair of yakuza dramas, Kinji Fukasaku's Battles Without Honor and Humanity from 1973 and 1967's A Colt Is My Passport by Takashi Nomura.

There's a break for the Thai New Year and then the Double Bills start back up on April 20 with "late cowboy" movies – Purgatory (1999, Uli Edel, US) and John Wayne's swansong in The Shootist (1976, Don Siegel). The closing films on April 27 are "little gems", The Dish and the Spoon (2011, Alison Bagnall, US) and Housekeeping (1987, Bill Forsyth, US).

The venue is the Rewat Buddhinan Room in the basement of the Pridi Banomyong Library at Thammasat University, Tha Chan. You'll need to show your I.D. and have it scanned to gain entry. The coolest way to get there is to take the Chao Phraya River Express to Wang Lang (Siriraj) pier and then ride the ferry across to Tha Prachan or Wat Mahathat pier.

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