Monday, September 22, 2014

Teacher's Diary chalked up for the Oscars

The sweet, sentimental romance The Teacher's Diary
(คิดถึงวิทยา, Kid Tueng Wittaya) has been submitted as Thailand's entry to the 87th Academy Awards, the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand has announced.

Directed by Nithiwat Tharatorn, the comedy-drama follows the slowly intertwining stories of two lonely teachers, a young woman and a young man, who are posted to the same rural school a year apart. Sukrit "Bie" Wisetkaew is a bumbling-but-enthusiastic ex-jock who is assigned to the remote floating schoolhouse. Cut off from such modern conveniences as electricity and telephone service, Song takes to reading an illustrated diary left by his predecessor Ann, and he slowly falls in love with her. Song later moves on, and when the headstrong and opinionated Ann (Chermarn "Ploy" Boonyasak) returns to her old post, she finds the battered diary has been expanded upon, and she develops feelings for Song, even though the two have never met.

Released in March by the GTH studio, The Teacher's Diary was a hit at the box office, and was the No. 1 film for two weeks with earnings of more than $3 million.

The 21st Thai entry into the Oscars' foreign-language division, The Teacher's Diary follows last year's submission, the thriller Countdown, which was also from GTH. Other Oscar submissions from GTH include 2009's Best of Times by Youngyooth Thongkonthun and 2005's The Tin Mine by Jira Maligool.

Thailand began submitting Oscar hopefuls in 1985, intermittingly at first, but annually from 1997, with entries by such names as MC Chatrichalerm Yukol, Bhandit Rittakol, Pen-ek Ratanaruang and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. So far, none have made the final short list of nominees.

Update: The Nation's Soopsip column has more background on the choice. Tang Wong would have been the first choice, but it was released just two days too early for next year's Oscars (it should have been chosen last year, I think). Other contenders were Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy and The Last Executioner. They garnered votes of 4-3, while Teacher's Diary got a 5-2 vote from the Federation committee.

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