Thursday, November 5, 2015

In Thai cinemas: Hand in Glove, Produire au Sud Bangkok, Teacher's Diary

Thai and Japanese talents combine both in front of and behind the lens for this quirky indie romantic comedy, which is so light it is practically inconsequential.

Thai actor-musician Chanon Rikulsurakan stars as an oddball glove-clad prince from a fictional country, who is visiting Kumamoto, Japan. Desperate to escape the pressures and protocols of being the heir to the throne, he sneaks out of his hotel and meets a local woman, who accompanies him on sightseeing trips. His minder is played by Selina Weismann, and I think she and the hotel manager conspire to let the prince believe he's sneaking away.

Directed by Japanese actor-director Yusuke Inaba, it was shot in Kumamoto by Thai cinematographer Pairach Khumwan, who is noted for his work on Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s 36 and Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy. Hand in Glove first screened in Bangkok in January during the Japanese Film Festival, so here's a chance for more folks to see it. It's in Japanese with English and Thai subtitles at House on RCA.

There are two other movies this week in addition to the usual Wednesday screening at the Alliance Française Bangkok, where tonight and tomorrow, there are Southeast Asian films as part of the Produire au Sud Bangkok film-funding workshop, which is organized by the World Film Festival of Bangkok and the Three Continents Film Festival in Nantes, France.

The workshops give up-and-coming independent filmmakers experience in pitching their projects and finding backers to fund their films.

Tonight's screening, at 7pm, is the Filipino comedy-drama Anita's Last Cha Cha, which was supported by the Produire au Sud Nantes in 2010. And tomorrow at 6.30pm is the Malaysian social satire Men Who Save the World by Liew Seng Tat. It was pitched at Produire au Sud Bangkok in 2008 and screened in the recent Bangkok Asean Film Festival. Both films will also screen in the World Film Festival of Bangkok, which opens on November 13.

There are five teams pitching projects this year. They are:

  • Love for Life, directed by Pyae Zaw Phyo and produced by Myat Noe, Myanmar
  • Birdshot, directed by Mikhail Red and produced by Pamela Reyes, Philippines
  • Art Studio, directed by Jiekai Liao and produced by Jeremy Chua, Singapore
  • Sydney, directed by Wasunan Hutawet and produced by Parinee Buthrarsi
  • Cha Cha Cha, directed by Trung Do and produced by Trang Ngo, Vietnam

Wasunan, the director of the Thai project, is an alumnae of the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2012. Seeking to make her feature debut, she previously took Sydney to the Thai Pitch in Cannes.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand's Contemporary World Film Series closes out another year with a Thai film, the award-winning 2014 romantic drama The Teacher's Diary (คิดถึงวิทยา, Kid Tueng Wittaya).

It's the sweetly sentimental tale of two teachers who are posted to an isolated floating schoolhouse a year apart. Despite never having met, they fall in love with one another through a diary they share at the school. Directed by Nithiwat Tharatorn and starring "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak and "Bie" Sukrit Wisetkaew, it won many awards for its screenplay, art direction and music. It was also Thailand's submisssion to this year's Oscars.

Nithiwat will attend the screening, which is at 7pm on Monday and is supported by the GTH film studio and a wine brand. Admission is 150 baht for non-members and 100 baht for the wine.

Other movies opening include the new Bond film Spectre, and the gore-filled Tag, which has director Sion Sono killing as many Japanese schoolgirls as he can put on camera. There's also Spanish Film Week, which last just four days, at SF World. Check the other blog for more details.

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