Monday, June 2, 2014

Executioner, Clouds set for Shanghai fest

Two Thai films are in competition in the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival, The Last Executioner, which makes its world premiere in the main Golden Goblet competition, and Concrete Clouds, which is in the Asian New Talent lineup.

Directed by Tom Waller, The Last Executioner (เพชฌฆาต, Petchakat) makes its bow in Shanghai ahead of its July 3 release in Thai cinemas. Here's more about it from a press release issued just seconds ago:

The Last Executioner a.k.a. Petchakat is inspired by real events and follows the story of Chavoret Jaruboon, a former rock 'n' roll musician who entertained American GIs during the Vietnam war before becoming a death row executioner at the notorious "Bangkok Hilton".

Starring Vithaya Pansringarm (Only God Forgives) in the lead role of Chavoret, the Thai-language film also features Penpak Sirkul and Thai National Film Best Actor winner David Asavanond (Countdown) as well as veteran Thai actors Nirut Sirichanya (The Hangover Part II), Pisarn Akkaraseranee and Jaran "See Tao" Petcharoen.

Selected from 1,099 entries as one of 11 films chosen in the Golden Goblet competition, award-winning director Tom Waller’s second Thai-language film will be judged by a jury headed by famous Chinese actress Gong Li.

Born in Bangkok to a Thai Buddhist mother and Irish Catholic father, director Tom had a unique dual perspective on the story: “Is it a sin for one man to kill another, even if it is his duty? Does being an executioner make him a murderer or not.”

"Pu" Vithaya, who had worked with Tom before playing Father Ananda in Mindfulness and Murder a.k.a. Sop-Mai-Ngiab, was honored to play Chavoret, who passed away in 2012. “It was a challenge for me to play this ordinary family man who led such an extraordinary life. With his job killing people, as a Buddhist he had to come to terms with his karma.”

After its World Premiere at Shanghai, the film will have its Thai Premiere on June 19, before going on general release in Thai cinemas on July 3 through Handmade Distribution.

Waller and Vithaya were also recently interviewed by The Nation, and Film Business Asia has details on the rest of the Shanghai Golden Goblet contenders.

Concrete Clouds, the feature directorial debut of prominent longtime film editor Lee Chatametikool, is a drama set during the 1997 financial crisis in Bangkok. It premiered at last year's Busan fest and has been steadily making the rounds on the festival circuit, including appearances in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. In Shanghai, it's part of the nine-entry field in competition for the Asian New Talent Award. It's also in the New Talent Competition at the Taipei Film Festival, which immediately follows Shanghai.

The 17th Shanghai International Film Festival runs from June 14 to 22.

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