Wednesday, September 02, 2009


My poll 62 is inspired by some Thai short films I saw this year, especially LITTLE LIFE, SEDUCTION LULLABY, THE WITCH, and MY MINE. LITTLE LIFE is an animation which surprises me with its extremely sad ending. MY MINE is a film which explores a strange relationship between a daughter and her mother. This film really stands out from many Thai films which talk about mother-daughter relationship, because in this film a mother tries to poison her own daughter. I wonder whether the strange relationship in this film may also be seen as metaphorical. Maybe the poisonous food that the mother makes for her own daughter is actually delicious food. The daughter may actually have both love and hatred towards her own mother. A loving part of the daughter may yearn for the delicious food of her mother, yearn for home, and yearn for the embrace of the mother. But the hating part of the daughter tries to fight the loving part and makes the daughter view the delicious food as poisonous food.

SEDUCTION LULLABY is a feel-bad film in Michael Haneke's style. It presents the bad side of human beings, and the hero of this film reminds me a little of the hero in BENNY'S VIDEO. THE WITCH is an extreme horror film.

Inspired by these Thai short films, I decided to make a list of my favorite feel-bad films.

I'm not sure what "feel-bad films" mean exactly. So in this post, I define feel-bad films as films which view human beings, the world, or the universe in a rather pessimistic way, or films which don't offer redemption or easy solutions for the suffering of their characters.


1.BLIND PIG WHO WANTS TO FLY (2008, Edwin, Indonesia)
I'm not sure if this can be called a feel-bad film or not, but what I like the most in this film is its presentation of the suffering of Chinese people in Indonesia.

2.BOG OF BEASTS (2006, Claudio Assis, Brazil)

3.THE CRUEL EMBRACE (1987, Marion Hansel, Belgium)

4.DEATH IN THE LAND OF ENCANTOS (2007, Lav Diaz, Philippines)
This is a doubly feel-bad film for me, because not only human beings are cruel in this film, but the nature is also cruel, too.

5.EXTASE DE CHAIR BRISEE (2005, Pierre-Luc Vaillencourt + Frederick Maheux, Canada)

6.FRIENDSHIP (2008, Right Brain Team, Thailand)

7.GARAGE OLIMPO (1999, Marco Bechis, Argentina)

8.HORSEMEN (2009, Jonas Akerlund, USA)

9.THE HUNGARIAN SERVANT (2004, Giorgio Molteni + Massimo Piesco, Italy)

10.LITTLE LIFE (2009, Rungkarn Kaewsuwan, Thai animation)

11.MY MINE (ความในใจ) (2009, Woratouch Wattanagune, Thailand)

12.A NATION WITHOUT WOMEN (2003, Manish Jha, India)

13.PLAYING THE VICTIM (2006, Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia)

14.RULE #1 (2008, Kelvin Tong, Hong Kong)

15.SEDUCTION LULLABY (2009, Napat Treepalawisetkun, Thailand)

16.SOUND AND FURY (1988, Jean-Claude Brisseau, France)

17.TUENJAI: THE UNFORGETTABLE CASE (เตือนใจ คดีที่ไม่มีวันลืม) (1979, Dul Wijit, Thailand)

18.THE UNINVITED (2003, Lee Su-yeon, South Korea)

19.THE WITCH (2009, Alwa Ritsila + Phatamon Chitachinda, Thailand)

20.YUE (VICTIMS) (1987, Chana Kraprayun, Thailand)

You can cast multiple votes.

The soundtrack for this poll is GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD by Shakespears Sister

--Sometimes I asked myself if it is fine to like a film like HORSEMEN, of which some parts are too violent for me. Some films are justified for their use of violence, such as films by Michael Haneke or A NATION WITHOUT WOMEN, because there seems to be good messages behind their use of violence. But violence in some films seems to be gratuitous, such as in films by Dario Argento.

My view about this thing is like this: I think it is fine to make or like most violent films if the making of these films cause no harm to animals or human beings, and if these films don't intentionally encourage people to do harm to animals or innocent human beings. I think it is fine for some people to enjoy their own controversial fantasy or share their own controversial fantasy with one another, because enjoying the fantasy in one's head or in fictional works cause no harm to anybody. This thing also makes me think about Alain Robbe-Grillet. I read one of his novels and found that it is full of extreme sadomasochistic fantasies. I don't like these fantasies, but I think it is alright that Robbe-Grillet expressed these fantasies, because the expression of these fantasies causes no harm to anyone.

So in conclusion, I think liking or making such films as HORSEMEN is much less "sinful" than eating chicken, eating pork, or eating any kind of meat, because when you eat meat, you enjoy the benefit of the killing of "real" innocent animals. Some filmmakers are accused of making too violent films, but I think "eating meat" is more sinful than making violent films. I think killing 100 fictional animals or killing 100 fictional characters is not a sin. Killing a real animal or supporting the killing of real animal by eating it is a much bigger sin.

I'm not a vegetarian. I wrote the things above just to justify myself for liking some violent films. But sometimes I wonder why society (which is full of meat-eating people like me) seems to be afraid of some violent films which cause no harm to any real human beings or real animals.

--I exclude many famous films from this poll, especially Austrian films and Bresson's films. I might make another list of my favorite feel-bad films soon.


celinejulie said...


WiseKwai said...

DEATH IN THE LAND OF ENCANTOS and BLIND PIG WHO WANTS TO FLY for sure. But all films are going to make me feel bad for awhile now I think.

celinejulie said...

I share your feeling, Wise Kwai.