Thursday, January 26, 2012

TWENTY YOUNG INDEPENDENT THAI DIRECTORS

The article below was first published two years ago in Indian Auteur website.

Twenty Young Independent Thai directors:
(in alphabetical order)

1.Alwa Ritsila

Alwa Ritsila and Komvish Zally shocked many audience in 2008 with their Mofo Life Size Doll (2007, 25 min), an unrelentingly brutal film using dolls as characters. The main character of this film rapes, tortures, kills, and crucifies other characters. This kind of extreme brutality can also be found in other films directed or co-directed by Alwa. Though the cruel stories in his films make some people want to look away from the screen, other people feel drawn to the beauty of the cinematography and the perfect use of the soundtrack in his films. Another interesting work of his is The Witch (2009, 29 min), which he co-directed with Phatamon Chitarachinda. In this film Alwa played all the three main characters by himself—the masturbating father, the virgin daughter, and a witch who loves drinking the blood of a virgin. It ranks as one of the most brutal films I have ever seen, but I can't deny its cinematic power. Alwa is the dark lord of Thai cinema. Some of his films can be watched at: http://www.youtube.com/user/madmadmaniv


2.Arpapun Plungsirisoontorn

Arpapun made Repeating Dramatic (2008, 8 min), which is one of the best Thai political films in 2008. In this film, an extremely melodramatic scene from a soap opera is replayed for numerous times. The colors of the scene are increasingly fading each time the scene is replayed, until what remains on the screen looks like moving mass of ugly colors. The audience also hears a radio report of political news during the same time. This film reminds me of the sad political history of Thailand, in which military coups have been staged frequently, even in 2006. The country has always been stuck in a vicious circle, like a melodramatic scene which is forever repeated and unable to move forward. Arpapun also made Fairy Feminine (2009, 29 min), which tells a twisted fairy tale about a relationship between a mother and a daughter. The mother looks like an angel, a witch, and a lesbian rolled into one. The prince in this film performs the role of a seducer instead of a rescuer-hero. And the seven dwarfs in this film look like a gang of rapists. Maybe this is a perfect fairy tale for children in our postmodern time.


3.Attapon Pamakho (born 1985)

Attapon made Hasan (2008, 29 min), which is one of the most touching gay films I have ever seen. It deals with a married Muslim man who has an affair with his wife's brother. The story is very daring compared with most Thai films, and the cinematography is gorgeous. Hasan is successful in expressing the inner torment of the husband, the role of which is excellently played by Supasawasdi Buranawate. It reminds me of the power of another great gay film—Priest (1994, Antonia Bird). Attapon also co-directed Seaport (2006, 22 min) with Benya Poowarachnan. This documentary deals with immigrants from Myanmar who are living with difficulty in a province in Thailand, and the racial prejudice of Thai people. Seaport shares one thing with Hasan--the use of music in both films' ending scenes brings tears to my eyes.

Hasan (2008, Attapon Pamakho)
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4. Chaiwat Wiansantia

Chaiwat Wiansantia made Fragrance of the Wind (2007, 26 min), and Wake Up Time (2009, 10 min), both of which are like semi-experimental, semi-documentary films. They seem to tell no obvious stories, and focus on landscapes. I think the story of Fragrance of the Wind is about a person who is bored with living and working in a big city and decides to go visiting his rural hometown for a while. The film can capture the rural landscape, or the soul of the rural landscape, very well. It seems to be able to transport the pleasant atmosphere of the rural areas into the screening room miraculously. I felt as if there was a magical wind blowing in the screening room while the film was shown. I felt as if I could smell the damp earth soaked with rainwater while I was watching the film. Wake Up Time portrays a group of people who go to a seaside. The film lets us see their seemingly insignificant activities—walking, talking, painting—and interspersed them with seemingly unconnected scenes, such as scenes of a neon lamp going on and off, or scenes of a taxi. The "seemingly-illogical" editing helps create some magical feelings and makes this film very much different from a mere home video. You can watch some of Chaiwat's films at this Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/jas0146012


5.Chaloemkiat Saeyong

Chaloemkiat Saeyong's masterpiece is Politically Lawyer and Narrative Cinema (2009, 27 min), which plays with many elements of cinema. The film tells a fictional story about a murder in an airport and uses this murder to remind the viewers of the real case of Somchai Neelaphaijit, a Thai political lawyer who disappeared in 2004. Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa, a Thai film critic, makes an interesting observation that the film seems to both tell a story and destroy its story at the same time. The film is extremely self-reflexive and has numerous weird things in it. For example, both the English title and the Thai title of this film are "intentionally" grammatically wrong. The film shows us a lecture room or a corridor in a building, while a text appearing on the screen says that the audience must imagine that what they see is an airport. The film reminds me of some weird and wonderful films by Jean-Luc Godard. Chaloemkiat also made Peru Time (2008, 18 min), which lets us watch a sunset for 18 minutes while some unreadable texts keep appearing on the screen. Wiwat compares this film to the opening scene of India Song (1974, Marguerite Duras). Chaloemkiat also made A Place of Different Air (2008, 24 min), in which the images appearing on the screen change their sizes from time to time. This semi-documentary, semi-experimental film is about a family who has just moved to a new place, and the different image sizes seem to emphasize the contrast between the old place and the new place.

Politically Lawyer and Narrative Cinema (2009, Chaloemkiat Saeyong)
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6.Chawit Waewsawangwong

Chawit Waewsawangwong made Fireflies (2005, 4 min), which presents beauty neon lights in Bangkok, while an electronic dance song is played. The editing of this film corresponds perfectly with the song rhythm, and it can be considered one of the most beautiful dance music videos ever made. I also like it very much that the film seems to celebrate neon lights and night life in Bangkok, instead of doing what some other Thai films and some other Thai artists do—trying to portray Bangkok as a one-sided place of evil and ugliness and looking down on night life. I consider this film as possibly one of the three most beautiful films about Bangkok. The other two are Rough Night (2001, Samart Imkham, 22 min) and Bangkok at 21:42 hrs (2001, Thanes Maneejak, 3 min). Chawit also made some good animations, such as Enough (2007, 3 min) and Continue (2005, 2 min). I also love Hate (2004, 2 min), in which we see someone intending to kill someone, but the film minimally and effectively tells its story by letting us see only the tip of a cutter moving closer to its victim.


7.Chulayarnnon Siriphol (born 1986)

Chulayarnnon made Hualampong (2004, 12 min) when he was a high-school student. This film observes an old man who frequently came to a railway station to take photos. There is nothing dramatic happening during the whole film. The film observes this man very patiently. This film drastically changed the attitude people had had towards Thai high-school students-filmmakers. Before this film, we used to think that high-school students only made funny films. After this film, we know we can never underestimate these teenagers any more. Chulayarnnon's masterpiece is Danger (Director's Cut) (2008, 14 min), which tells a story about a murder in an apartment building. What makes this film extraordinary is that the script of this film and some harsh comments on this film are also inserted into the film. We see texts from the script and texts commenting on the film appearing on the screen from time to time. This film is originally made as a thesis in a university. The harsh comments were made by a teacher. When we watch this film, we don't only see a murder story, but we also learn about its narrative structure and the bias against this film. I have never seen a film as self-reflexive as this before. An instant classic!


8.Janenarong Sirimaha (born 1987)

Janenarong made I Scream (2008, 21 min), which is a very entertaining horror-thriller film, though the film is as good as many good films in its genre. It doesn't transcend its genre. However, Read Me! (2008, 17 min) proves that Janenarong is a talent to watch. This film, which is about a female university student who can read other people's minds, is hard to categorize. It is extremely entertaining and can please general audience as much as a good mainstream film, but it is very different from most Thai genre films or most Thai mainstream films because it doesn't let itself be bound by the rules of any genres. It keeps on surprising the audience until the end. Janenarong also made Ying and Wan (2008, 7 min), a very funny film in which an actor played five characters. This low-budget film proves that creativity, not money, is the best thing you can rely on when making a film, no matter whether the film is a pure entertainment or a work of art. You can watch Janenarong's film at http://www.youtube.com/user/shuckwow .


9.Napat Treepalawisetkun (born 1990)

Napat likes John Waters and Michael Haneke, and this fact is obviously shown in his films. Nene, who gives maddeningly fierce, wild, raw, and extremely memorable performances in many of Napat's cult films, is his own Divine. A Series of Salinee Event (2007, 14 min), which was made while Napat was still a high-school student, tells the story of a woman (Nene) who hires a killer to kill someone, which turns out to be Salinee herself. This film made Napat stand out from other Thai teenage filmmakers, because the film has a very complicated narrative structure, and the extreme violence in this film is shown in a serious mode, while most films made by Thai teenagers show violence in a playful, funny mode. I Will Rape You with This Scissors (2008, 13 min), which stars Nene as a demented mother who may or may not kill her own daughter, also has a perplexing narrative structure. It even has a deeper layer of meaning. This cult film is actually a satire on the censorship of Syndromes and a Century (2006, Apichatpong Weerasethakul). While most of Napat's earlier films may show the influences of John Waters, the influences from Haneke become obvious in Seduction Lullaby (2009, 23 min), a feel-bad film which tells a story about rapes and guilt. The characters in this film don't expressively show their feelings as in Napat's earlier films. They carry enormous pain inside. Napat also made It's Hard to Say How I Love You, Captain Hook (2009, 10 min), which tells a story of a mother who patiently takes care of her disabled son. The film is very interesting because it doesn't seem to belong to any obvious genres. It is not a feel-bad, a comedy, a black comedy, a satire, or a tear-jerking drama. It is just itself. It also indicates that Napat's directing styles may evolve very fast.

Seduction Lullaby (2009, Napat Treepalawisetkun)
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It's Hard to Say How I Love You, Captain Hook (2009, Napat Treepalawisetkun)
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10.Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (born 1984)

Nawapol works both independently and for studios. He became famous for See (2006, 9 min), which observes his own father while he is making fried rice, eating, and watching TV. The film also has what would later turns out to be Nawapol's signature styles, namely static camera, long take, and long shot. Though Nawapol uses some arthouse styles in his films, his films are very different from many arthouse films because there is a Nawapol's brand of humor in his films. I don't know how to define his kind of humor. I think I should just give some examples. The story of Giraffe (2007, 3 min) takes place when the world is about to end after 300 Malaysian giraffes died. Two people want to listen to a song before the world ends, but the song they end up listening to is So Dem a Com by E-Type. In his documentary Shit Happens (2003, 52 min), Nawapol talks about the problems his family has with dog excrement in front of his house. He didn't only interview his own family and neighbors, but also interviewed a lawyer about how to deal legally with this problem. I find this kind of things very funny, but this kind of humor is not often found in films made by other people. Another example of this can be found in Mr. Mee Wanna Go to Egypt (2009, 20 min), which is actually made for a no-smoking campaign, but the film presents a child character who keeps saying, "Let's smoke," for numerous times. Nawapol also proves that he is able to make serious films. Francais (2009, 30 min) effectively portrays many problems a blind university student faces while studying, and Nawapol's signature styles help very much in preventing this film from becoming a tear-jerking melodrama.

Mr. Mee Wanna Go to Egypt (2009, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit)
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Francais (2009, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit)
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11.Prap Boonpan (born 1981)

Prap Boonpan, whom I consider a leader of Thai political films, impressed me a lot with his Two Worlds in One World (2004, 18 min), which deals with the problems of the film The Siam Renaissance (2004, Surapong Pinijkhar), which may or may not present Thai historical facts, and may also present some wrong attitudes. Prap presents the problems of that film and his arguments very straightforwardly. He makes the characters in Two Worlds in One World talk about these problems and he uses his camera to focus on some historical textbooks in extreme close up, so that the viewers can read what is written on the textbooks. I like this kind of technique very much. It reminds me of some foreign essayistic films or some films by Jean-Luc Godard, but I had never found this kind of argumentative techniques employed in Thai films before. Prap uses this technique again in Letter from the Silence (2006, 5 min), in which he uses a camera to focus on a letter written by a Thai taxi driver who heroically committed suicide to protest the military coup in 2006. I had read this powerful letter before I saw this film. I liked the content of the letter very much, but it didn't have a strong effect on my feelings when I read it on a website. However, when the letter is presented in this film, the power of its words seems to increase exponentially and unexplainably, and this time the letter can make me cry. Maybe the film lends an "aura" to the letter. This technique is used again, but by a younger director, in a film called Women in Democracy (2009, Atthawut Boonyuang, 6 min), which is one of the best Thai films this year. This fact seems to indicate that Prap may have some influences on younger directors. Prap's masterpiece is The Bangkok Bourgeois Party (2007, 28 min), which condemns many bourgeois people who support the military coup. It contains an instant classic scene—a three-to-five minute blackout scene in which the viewers see nothing and hear nothing. This scene comes after the bourgeois characters kill a character who thinks differently. Though many films by Prap contain a lot of dialogues or texts, there are some films in which he turns to use some symbols, instead of texts or dialogues, to convey his messages. This group of films includes Culture and Nature (2008, 3 min) and the latter part of The White Short Film/The Candle Light (2009, 20 min), which earns him the R.D. Pestonji award. This award-winning film consists of two parts. In the first part, we see a man and a woman reading a script about the political situation in Thailand in late 2008 and early 2009. In the second part, we see a man watching a candle in a TV. This film, together with Culture and Nature, makes me contemplate about the future of Thailand. I think in the future if someone wants to write a book about Thai political films, Prap Boonpan is one of the names which must be included in that book.

Culture and Nature (2008, Prap Boonpan)
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The White Short Film/The Candlelight (2009, Prap Boonpan)
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12.Prateep Suthathongthai (born 1980)

Prateep is an artist who makes photos, videos and video installations. He cleverly explores the themes of minorities and ethnicity in Thailand via his videos Where Are Thais From? (2007), and Explanation of the Word 'Thai' (2007, 2 min). In Explanation of the Word 'Thai', we see a Phu-Thai guy reading Thai history out loud by using his own local dialect, which makes his reading incomprehensible to many Thai viewers, especially Bangkokians. The video also presents some karaoke texts, so that the viewers can pronounce what the guy is saying, but still don't understand what the guy is saying. Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa observes that this video makes the viewers realize that Thailand is not composed of only Thai people, but composed of people from many ethnic groups who have diverse cultures. The viewers also realize that some groups of people are marginalized by Thai mainstream culture, and these minorities are not mentioned in the definition of the word Thai which they are reading. I also like Moving Cameras – October 27 (2009), which is a video installation of Prateep. This video installation, which is composed of four TV sets, shows us the views from a camera which is passed from one person to another person to another person, and so on. This video installation, which may be about some abstract ideas, unintentionally makes me realize that in order to see the whole thing or to understand a thing completely, we should watch it from various viewpoints, observe it from various angles, or maybe listen to people who think differently.


13.Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke (born 1987)

I have seen only three films by Ratchapoom, but I'm sure this director, who is also an avid cinephile, will go very far. His films include Unpronoucable in the Linguistic Imperialism of Yours (2008, 3 min), which is a mockumentary about a Thai female artist who opens her house to let people come in and watch her masturbating. This film makes the viewers realize that we rarely see a heroine expressing some sexual satisfaction in Thai films or Thai TV series. We more often see Thai villainesses expressing this kind of feelings. This film touches on some taboos in Thai media which we may not have noticed before. Ratchapoom tackles taboo subjects again in Mermaid Wearing Pants (2009, 7 min), which is composed of found footage from many banned films, including Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini). This film also reminds us of some political taboos in Thailand. Ratchapoom's masterpiece is Bodily Fluid Is So Revolutionary (2009, 41 min), which tells a story of a gay couple who encounter a serious relationship problem when one of them becomes allergic to any bodily fluid coming out of his lover. The allergic one seeks help from a female doctor, who eagerly volunteers to have sex with her own patient, while his lover resorts to masturbation. What makes this film special is its self-reflexiveness. The images in this film are strangely disrupted from time to time, as if the film is shown via a scratched or damaged DVD, but the characters also realize that they exist in a scratched DVD and try to escape from it. Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa observes that this film does not only tackle some sexual taboos, but is also about the relationship between film viewers who become allergic to arthouse films, critics who provide the cure, and filmmakers who are accused of masturbating themselves by making incomprehensible films.

Bodily Fluid Is So Revolutionary (2009, Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke)
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14.Sompot Chidgasornpongse (born 1980)

Sompot's first film is AUAD DEE (2003, 10 min), which impresses me a lot because it is like an essay. In this film we see a young man, who is supposed to be a representative of a certain group of Thai teenagers, expressing his opinions on many social trends for nearly 10 minutes. But in the end we hear the voice of a narrator expressing some scorn on this man. I think Sompot made this film in order to express his opinions on other people's opinions, and he succeeded. His method may be easy, but I like its straightforwardness and its difference from most Thai films. Sompot made another essay film called Diseases and a Hundred Year Period (2008, 20 min), which talks about the censorship of Syndromes and a Century. He also made some atmospheric films, including Bangkok in the Evening (2005, 16 min), Andaman (2005, 16 min), 8,241.46 Miles Away From Home (2006, 6 min), and Landscape 101 01 1101 01 ... (2007, 28 min), all of which seem to present "landscape" as one of the main characters. All of them are documentary-like and very slow. In this group of films, I prefer Landscape 101 01 1101 01 ... the most. This film explores the landscape of a burnt forest very patiently. I love its extreme slowness and the fact that the images in this film become blurred from time to time. However, it is interesting that Sompot changes the rhythm of his films after that. Physical Therapy (2007, 1 min), which is about a woman running in a desert, and Yesterday (2008, 13 min), which is about the hectic lives of Thai students in USA, are fast-paced, and it indicates that Sompot is a director who may like to change his styles from film to film in order to fit the different themes of each film. I can't wait to see his thesis film Are WeThere Yet?.

(I want to note that Sompot used to be an assistant director of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and many other people who used to work with Apichatpong have turned out to be great independent directors, too. These great directors include Nitipong Thinthupthai, Phaisit Phanphruksachat, Santiphap Inkong-ngam, Suchada Sirithanawuddhi, Supamok Silarak, and Teekhadet Vucharadhanin.)

Landscape 101 01 1101 01... (2007, Sompot Chidgasornpongse)
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Yesterday (2008, Sompot Chidgasornpongse)
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15.Supakit Seksuwan

What I love in many of Supakit's films is its free flowing and its incomprehensibility. Some of his films seem to defy logic and make the viewers ask, "What is happening?", "What does this scene mean?", "What does the whole film mean?", or "Why was this scene inserted into the film, because it makes no sense at all?" Having said that, I don't want you to misunderstand that Supakit's films are very arty. In fact, his films seem to be cheaply made, and observe no rules of film aesthetics. This quality turns out to be the reason why seeing his films is a very refreshing experience. His films are the opposite of many films made by film school students who strictly observe the rules of what good arthouse films should be. In I Open at the Close (2009, 12 min), Supakit lets us see many unimportant activities in a university. Most viewers don't understand what this film is trying to say. I don't either. But it is a pleasant experience to see a film which seems to be bound by no rules, except the feelings of the director. There's one scene I like very much in this film. It's the scene in which the camera stalks a young student for a long time. It stalks this student for no obvious reasons, and it stops stalking when the student seems to realize that he is being stalked. I also love Inside Out (2009, 21 min) and The Love (2007, 8 min), two documentaries of his. The first is about a group of rural children who talk about many trivial things. The second is about his grandparents. What I like in these two is the feeling that Supakit might not know what was going to happen in the next minute or the next second when he was shooting these documentaries. It seems as if Supakit just let the subjects of his documentaries express their true selves and enjoy themselves, instead of trying to control his subjects in order to make his documentary serve some purposes or convey some messages. My most favorite film of Supakit is Prognostic (2009, 8 min), in which we see a guy walking and doing some activities, while the images of these activities are manipulated in various ways, such as being turned upside down, being blurred, or being affected by some special computer effects. It's a real "experimental" film. You can watch some of Supakit's films in his Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/venerator

Inside Out (2009, Supakit Seksuwan)
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16.Suphisara Kittikunarak

Suphisara made Thom (2009, 30 min) and Passion Sonata (2009, 13 min), both of which deal with sex in a very interesting way, or in a way I had never seen in Thai films before. I guess she can be called the Thai Catherine Breillat. Thom deals with a young woman whose husband just died. She decides to keep his corpse in her bedroom, becomes a prostitute, does some weird activities, flirts with a young boy, and shaves her head. Suphisara also plays the lead role in this film, and she did really have her own head shaved. That shows how devoted she is to her film. Passion Sonata deals with a young lesbian couple who sometimes have sex in a tennis court, and a gay couple who live nearby. One of the gay couple (played by Napat Treepalawisetkun) likes to play violin after making love. Trouble seems to happen when one of the lesbians tries very hard to rape one of the gays. Nearly all of these things in both of her films are presented in an objective tone. While most Thai filmmakers may try to present this kind of stories in a comedic tone or in a melodramatic tone, Suphisara tells her story in an objective tone, which reminds me of some Austrian films by Barbara Albert, Ulrich Seidl, or Michael Haneke.


17.Tanatchai Bandasak (born 1984)

I have seen five films by Tanatchai – Drift (2008, 3 min), Endless Rhyme (2008, 26 min), Lalita (2008, 5 min), Swamp (2008, 3 min), Sweetheart Garden (2009, 22 min) – and I don't think I understand them. I just know that they are very poetic and their beauty is beyond my ability to describe. Lalita may be the easiest film to be described. It is composed of found footage of two TV series starring Lalita Panyopas, a famous Thai actress in late 1980's and early 1990's. She stars in some melodramatic TV series, but the film 'Lalita' turns the found footage of these TV series into something very haunting. Some original TV scenes are slowed down, and some sound effects are added. It is as if Tanatchai had turned a found footage from Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210 into Twin Peaks. I think Tanatchai is an expert in using sound. Drift presents us the drifting of one noise to another noise to another noise, and so on, while we see an image of a policeman gradually turning into some abstract images. Swamp lets us hear the voice of a radio DJ, while we see an image of an eye falling down into a swamp. My most favorite film of Tanatchai is Sweetheart Garden, which also has some haunting sound effects. In this film we see some unconnected gorgeous images, such as images of a dark corridor, a man watching TV, a porn theater, a wasteland with some historical images superimposed on it, a zoo in fog, the breast of a woman, etc, while images connected to train, such as images of a platform, a railway, or a tunnel, are interspersed between these unconnected images. The ultimate sublime feelings I have while seeing Sweetheart Garden reminds me of the experience of seeing Take the 5:10 to Dreamland (1977, Bruce Conner). Both Bruce Conner and Tanatchai Bandasak make films which defy explanation.

Sweetheart Garden (2009, Tanatchai Bandasak)
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18.Tossapol Boonsinsukh (born 1982)

Tossapol, who is also a writer and a musician, has already made about 100 short films, and he also made two feature films – Afternoon Times (2005, 90 min), and Under the Blanket (2008), the latter of which is actually composed of a few short films strung together. I think I may have seen only 25 of his films. What I like the most in his films is its extremely atmospheric quality. An obvious example of this can be found in No One at the Sea (2005, 3 min), in which we only see an image of a seashore while hearing a piece of piano music. Tossapol is also great in using his feelings, emotions, and instinct in making films. This fact makes some of his films "incomprehensible" but "emotionally overwhelming". Some films of his are composed of unconnected scenes strung together, such as Don't Warm Egg in Microwave Or Else It Will Explode! (2005, 14 min), and Life Is Short 2 (2003-2006, 14 min). I don't understand the logic behind the juxtaposition of the scenes in these two films. All I know is that Don't Warm Egg in Microwave Or Else It Will Explode! makes me feel so happy after seeing it, while Life Is Short 2 makes me feel so melancholy and uplifting at the same time. What I also love in Tossapol's films is the feelings of loneliness, but the loneliness in his films is not the kind of loneliness found in Wong Kar-wai's or Tsai Ming-liang's films, but it is the kind of loneliness found in Jun Ichikawa's films. It is about people who are alone, but sometimes they are contented to be alone. An example of this can be found in She Is Reading Newspaper (2005, 8 min), in which three people in a cafe don't talk to each other, but they are perfectly happy like that. Tossapol's masterpiece is Afternoon Times, which deals with a restaurant owner who falls in love with a delivery boy, and gets extremely depressed after he disappeared. This film also contains one scene which might be one of the longest static takes in Thai film at that time. It is a scene in which the heroine closes down her restaurant, thinking that she may never find the delivery boy again. The static camera lets us watch her picking up a lot of drawings and various objects in the restaurant into boxes. The longer the film lets me watch her doing this, the stronger I feel an urge to cry. I guess this long static take lasts about 15 minutes. I had never seen a long take like this before in Thai cinema, except in Windows (1999, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 17 min). You can watch some of Tossapol's films in his Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/nangtoszlong

(I also want to note that nowadays many young independent Thai directors employ long static takes in their films/videos, though they are not influenced by Tossapol. Never Congregate Never Disregard (2007, Arin Rungjang, video installation) contains two scenes, each of which is a one-hour-long static take. You Have to Wait, Anyway (2007, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 22 min), Restart (2008, Patchara Eaimtrakul, 25 min), and Confront with the Truth (2009, Chanin Hanjaroen, 11 min) contain only one long static take for the whole duration of each of the films.)

Under the Blanket (2008, Tossapol Boonsinsukh)
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3097/2570773690_c1dfd61ba2_o.jpg


19.Tulapop Saenjaroen (born 1986)

Tulapop became famous in 2005 when his film Sad Scenery (19 min) won Vijitmatra award, though I haven't seen this film yet. The first time I was bowled over by his film is when I saw "___" (2006, 8 min), which contains some unconnected scenes strung together. In this strangely titled film, which I called the "underscore" film, we see images of some trees in the dark, someone washing his feet in the dark, children in a park, a cleaning lady doing her job, and some texts which run so fast that most viewers cannot read them completely. Our Waves (2006, 12 min) is also composed of unconnected scenes strung together. In the first half of the film, we see scenes of a group of friends doing many activities. In the latter half of the film, we see some waves in the water. These two films are very different from films by Tossapol and Tanatchai, though some of Tossapol's and Tanatchai's films are also made of unconnected scenes. While films of Tossapol touch my heart and my feelings, and while films of Tanatchai speak to my subconscious, these two films of Tulapop tease my brain. These two films remind me of some films by Arthur Lipsett and Alexander Kluge, which also contain unconnected scenes strung together and seem to appeal more to the intellect than to the feelings. Some of Tulapop's earlier films also appeal to the intellect, because they objectively experiment on many things. Vocal Instruction (2006) is an experiment on the contrast between text and voiceover. For example, when the viewers see the sentence "Read this" on the screen, the viewers hear the sentence "Do not read this" at the same time. Video Book (2007) shows us some random numbers, and teases us to find the connections between these numbers, though the connections may not exist. Water (2007) is an experiment on the changing forms of water. When the Movie Listens (2007, 11 min) stars Tulapop himself as an attentive listener. For the whole duration of this film, we see only the face of Tulapop who seems to be listening to anything the viewers talk about. "2008" (2008, 3 min) is a film composed of crazy ending credits. However, the other three films Tulapop made in 2008 seem to show more human feelings than before. The Return (2008, 5 min) talks about the memories of a son and a dead father. Tales of Swimming Pool (2008, 13 min) questions the meanings of life via three stories. The Eternal Light (2008) is an atmospheric film showing some beautiful abstract images and images of the sea under beautiful sunlight. I prefer The Eternal Light to many other films by Tulapop, partly because this film is not weighed down by concepts, ideas, or stories as other films of his. Maybe he has stepped on the right direction. I'm very eager to see his new film.


20.Yanin Pongsuwan (born 1985)

Yanin made The Spectrum (2006, 48 min), which is a documentary about the big band of Wat Ratchabopith school. The film shows us how hard the band's members tried in order to win in the annual competition for school big bands. My favorite scene is the one in which the coach got very angry with some behaviors of the band's members. He criticized them very harshly in front of the camera and seemed unafraid that this footage would be shown to the public. I felt as if I myself was criticized while I was watching this. I guess even Yanin herself might not have expected before that her documentary would have such a dramatic climax. Another thing I love in The Spectrum is how it portrays many gay teenagers in the band. The film shows how much these gays devoted themselves for the band, and show them as interesting human beings. This film offers a space for Thai gay teenagers, a space which they deserve, but don't often find, in Thai media. I think the true power of The Spectrum comes from the fact that Yanin found a way to get familar with or get close to the subjects of her film. Many footages in this film result from the trust the subjects have in the documentarian. Yanin made another great documentary called Home Video (2008, 14 min), which talks about her loving relationship with her mother and the fact that she may not have time to spend with her mother as much as before. The pace, the tone, the choice of footage, and the lyrical quality of this film made this film stand out from other Thai films in the same vein. This film touches everyone's heart.

(I want to note that many young and old independent Thai directors make films about their own families. The great ones include A Century of Love (2007, Chaloemrat Gaweewattana, 14 min), Ghosts (2005, Anocha Suwichakornpong, 35 min), Empire of Mind (2009, Nontawat Numbenchapol, 90 min), From Nachuak to Bangkok (2005, Siwadol Rathee, 83 min), Little Plant at the Old House (2007, Sasikan Suvanasuthi, 5 min), Love Actually (2008, Gun Sangkaew, 9 min), My Grandfather (2008, Pichet Smerchua, 45 min), Our Film (2005, Atthasit Somchob, 22 min), Sleeping Beauty (2006, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, 40 min), and Track 01 Take 30 (2008, Thakoon Khempunya, 17 min).)

The Spectrum (2006, Yanin Pongsuwan)
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4001/4173799492_b473e926b3_o.jp


My biography:

Jit Phokaew is a cinephile living in Bangkok. He once wrote for a Thai book called Filmvirus 3. His favorite film lists of the year 2001-2007 can be found at the website Senses of Cinema. He used to comment in IMDB.com (http://www.imdb.com/user/ur0426898/comments). Limitless Cinema (http://celinejulie.blogspot.com ) is his bilingual blog.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Films seen on Saturday, January 21, 2012

1.WALKOVER (1965, Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland, A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++)

2.A FORMAL FILM IN NINE EPISODES, PROLOGUE & EPILOGUE (2011, Mario Pfeifer, India/Germany, A+++++++++++++++)

3.HAIR (2010, Tayfun Pirselimoglu, Turkey, A++++++++++)

4.NO.89 SHIMEN ROAD (2010, Shu Haolun, China, A+)

5.PUSHED (2011, Florian Schneider, Germany, documentary, A+)




Friday, January 20, 2012

MY MOST FAVORITE FILMS OF 2011

The list of my 120 most favorite films of 2011 can be found here:
http://www.sensesofcinema.com/2012/feature-articles/2011-world-poll/#59

My favorite horror films of 2011
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2012/01/favorite-horror-horrorthriller-or.html


My favorite South East Asian films of 2011
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2012/01/favourite-southeast-asian-films-i-saw.html


I still haven't done the list of my most favorite films of 2010 yet. :-(

The photo is from NAKORN ASAJARN TRILOGY: MIGHT (2011, Wachara Kanha)




A POSTER WITH MY COMMENT



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Favorite Thai Songs 13: SECOND HAND -- Carrot

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYWf1AMa7FQ&feature=share

จำได้ว่ามีมิวสิควิดีโออันนึงของสามสาวแครอทที่เลียนแบบ RHYTHM NATION ของเจเน็ต แจ็คสันด้วย แต่จำไม่ได้ว่าชื่อเพลงอะไร โดยในมิวสิควิดีโอนี้ สามสาวแครอทใส่ชุดทหารเต้นกันในโรงงาน และมีชายหนุ่มที่ดูเหมือนคนงานก่อสร้างแอบดูสามสาวนี้เต้นในโรงงาน

Favorite Thai songs 12: DON'T WANNA BE A TOOTHPICK -- Prisana Wongsiri

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pldp6Er1teg&feature=share

Favorite Thai Songs 11: KON BANG JOH -- Cattleya Marasri

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3pSkrFvD8M&feature=share

Favorite Lyrics 3: YOU HAVE KILLED ME -- Morrissey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC4SBm7gQys

Thanks to a friend who told me about this song.
" Pasolini is me
'Accattone' you'll be
I entered nothing and nothing entered me
'Til you came with the key
And you did your best but

As I live and breathe
You have killed me
You have killed me
Yes I walk around somehow
But you have killed me
You have killed me
Piazza Cavour, what's my life for?

Visconti is me
Magnani you'll never be
I entered nothing and nothing entered me
'Til you came with the key


And you did your best but
As I live and breathe
You have killed me
You have killed me
Yes, I walk around somehow
But you have killed me
You have killed me

Who am I that I come to be here...?
As I live and breathe
You have killed me
You have killed me
Yes I walk around somehow
But you have killed me
You have killed me
And there is no point saying this again
there is no point saying this again
But I forgive you, I forgive you

Always I do forgive you."


It is interesting to see the cross references between films and songs. I also think about the song TSUI HARK by Sparks and the song BRAKHAGE by Stereolab.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeHdIDeUsEY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAHcAiG-PM0

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

MY SCHEDULE

THURSDAY 12 JAN
1800hrs GRAVE DECISIONS (2006, Marcus H. Rosenmüller, Germany) at BACC
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mini-Theater-at-BACC-by-Film-Archive-Public-Organization/166116676828745

SAT 14 JAN
1345 ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES (1994, Clifton Ko Chisum) at Pridi
http://www.facebook.com/events/314107221950735/
2000 DON 2 (2011, Farhan Akhtar, India) at Major Rama III
http://www.bollywoodthai.com/

MON 16
1930 THERAPY (stage play) at B-FLOOR

THURSDAY 19 JAN
1800 THE LEGEND OF TIME (2006, Isaki Lacuesta, Spain) at BACC
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mini-Theater-at-BACC-by-Film-Archive-Public-Organization/166116676828745

SAT 21
11.00 GREAT DAY (2010, Chiu Keng Guan, Malaysia, 91 min)
1330 A TOKYO DAY (2011, Benjamin Genissel, France, 21 min) + A FORMAL FILM IN NINE EPISODES, PROLOGUE & EPILOGUE (2011, Mario Pfeiffer, 52 min)
1540 HAIR (2010, Tayfun Pirselimoglu, Turkey)
1900 WALKOVER (1965, Poland)
2100 THE HALF OF THE WORLD (2009, Jaime Ruiz Ibanez, Mexico, 92 min)

SUN 22
1100 PINOY SUNDAY (2010, Taiwan, 84 min)
1330 LOVELY MAN (2010, Teddy Soeriaatmadja, Indonesia, 75 min)
1530 TURIN HORSE (2011, Bela Tarr, Hungary, 146 min)
1900 LITTLE JERUSALEM (2005, France, 94 min)
2100 PUSHED (2010, Florian Schneider, Germany, 82 min)

MON 23
1100 NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (2010, Patricio Guzman, Chile, 90 min)
1330 THE KID WHO LIES (2011, Marite Ugas, Peru, 94 min)
1540 DANCE TOWN (2010, Jeon Kyu-Hwan, South Korea, 95 min)
1800 LA ACACIAS (2011, Argentina, 85 min)
2030 DOG SWEAT (2011, Hossein Keshavarz, Iran, 90 min)

TUES 24
1100 RETURN TICKET (2011, Teng Yung-Shing, China, 88 min)
1330 SHORT WAVE PROGRAM 3 (77 min)
1610 A SCREAMING MAN (2010, Chad, 92 min)
1840 WASTE LAND (2010, Lucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim, Brazil, 98 min)
2030 THE ILLUSIONIST (2010, Sylvain Chomet, France, 83 min)

WED 25
1100 JULIETS (2010, Hou Chi-Jan, Chen Yu-Hsun, Shen Ko-Shang, Taiwan, 106 min)
1400 CHEONGGYECHEON MEDLEY: A DREAM OF IRON (2010, Kyung Kun Park, South Korea, 79 min)
1640 SEVEN DAYS IN HEAVEN (2010, Liu Zi-Jie, Yulin Wang, Taiwan, 93 min)
1850 THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAM 3D (2011, Werner Herzog, 90 min)
2200 THE BEETLE SOLDIERS (2011, Ari Sihasale, Indonesia, 106 min)

THURSDAY 26
1100 THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE (2010, 75 min)
1330 ZEPHYR (2010, Belma Bas, Turkey, 93 min)
1530 SHORT WAVE PROGRAM 1 (68 min)
1800 SHORT WAVE PROGRAM 4 (90 min)
2030 UNDERTOW (2009, Javier Fuentes-Leon, Peru, 100 min)

FRI 27
1300 GEORGE THE HEDGEHOG (2011, Wojciech Wawszczyk, Jakub Tarkowski, Tomasz Lesniak, animation, Poland, 90 min)
1530 SHORT WAVE PROGRAM 2 (91 min)
1800 THE CHEER AMBASSADOR (2011, Luke Cassady-Dorion, Thailand, 90 min)
2010 LUNG NEAW VISITS HIS NEIGHBOUR (2011, 149 min)

SAT 28
Bangkok Experimental Film Festival
http://beffbeff.com/BEFF%20Programmes/from-the-archives/

SUN 29
Bangkok Experimental Film Festival
http://beffbeff.com/BEFF%20Programmes/from-the-archives/

MON 30
1800 LUX program at William Warren Library
http://beffbeff.com/BEFF%20Programmes/bacc/

TUES 31 JAN
1930 AFTERNOON (2007, Angela Schanelec, Germany) at Goethe
http://www.goethe.de/ins/th/ban/en8449826v.htm






Sunday, January 08, 2012

Favorite Music Videos 32: MEN LIKE GODS -- Gazelle Twin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANaabsQo-uA

This music video is made up of footage found in the digital library of Sardinia.

I think it should be screened together with other music videos made up of found footage, such as:

VIDEO GAMES -- Lana Del Rey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO1OV5B_JDw

STARS & STRIPES FOREVER -- Matmos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEXgNM9MAMY

Favorite Old Songs 128: LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING -- Chet Baker

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02-8boTzMyM

Thanks to a friend who told me about this song. :-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

FAVORITE HORROR, HORROR/THRILLER, OR HORROR-TINGED FILMS I SAW IN 2011

This list is inspired by Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa.
http://filmsick.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/856/

Many films in this list are not horror films, but they are films with just a tinge of horror or nightmare in it.

1.HUSK (2011, Brett Simmons)

2.INSIDIOUS (2010, James Wan)

3.PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (2011, Henry Joost + Ariel Schulman)

4.ONIBABA (1964, Kaneto Shindo)

5.IMAGINATION (จิน ต) (2010, Somsak Tepmalai)

6.LADDALAND (2011, Sophon Sakdaphisit, Thailand)

7.LIGHTS OUT (2010, Fabrice Gobert)

8.WHEN FEAR STRIKES (QUAND VIENT LA PEUR) ( 2010, Élisabeth Rappeneau, miniseries)

9.SCREAM 4 (2011, Wes Craven)

10.THE WOMB IN AQUARIUM (มดลูกในตู้ปลา) (2010, Napat Treepalawisetkun)

11.MIZU (2010, Teerath Wangwisarn)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdRpc3VrnGU

12.WHAT!!! (สิ่งประหลาดในสวนหลังบ้าน) (2011, Prempapan Plittapolkranpim)

13.DANGEROUS SUMMER (ฤดูร้อนที่อันตราย) (2010, Thattapol Rachnok)

14.THAT NIGHT (2011, Krit Kittikornrat)

15.VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (2010, Brad Anderson)

16.BIRD NEEDS BB (เบิร์ดอยากได้บีบี) (2011, Meathus Sirinawin)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QREhHlOk9iI

17.DEPARTURE (2011, Wuttikorn Skulsaknimit, video installation)

18.BLOOD FOR DRACULA (1974, Paul Morrissey)

19.THE CHILLING HOURS AND THE MURDERER IN THE NUMBING SILENCE (โมงยามอันยะเยือกและผู้ร้ายฆ่าคนในความเงียบนิ่งงัน) (2010, Tani Thitiprawat)

20.SPIRIT DE NOIR (2011, Pichet Smerchua)

21.RED LOTUS POND (NONG BUA DANG) (1973, Sor Asanajinda, Thailand)

22.ONE NIGHT IN GAY MOVIE PRODUCTION CLUB (ซอมบี้ขยี้ตุ๊ด) (2010, Somsak Sonphaeng)

23.DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (2010, Troy Nixey)

24.KARMA (กามา) (2010, Pachara Yang)

25.THE WARD (2010, John Carpenter)

26.DOUBLE ENQUÊTE (2010, Pierre Boutron, miniseries)

27.SHARK NIGHT 3D (2011, David R. Ellis)

28.LES OUBLIÉES (FORGOTTEN GIRLS) (2007, Hervé Hadmar, miniseries)

29.THE DARKNESS (2011, Arisara Poolvoralaks, Thailand, 15 min)

30.V (2010, Thee Boonkreangkai)

My list of 31 favorite horror films
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2007/10/31-horror-films.html


My list of 30 favorite Thai short films with ghosts
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2010/09/favorite-thai-short-films-with-ghosts.html







TULIP AND SUNANTA NAKSOMPOP IN "A SELF-MADE LADY" (1992, TV series)





















AN INTERVIEW WITH SUNANTA NAKSOMPOP




ประโยคคลาสสิคจากสุนันทา นาคสมภพ นางเอกละคร "คุณหญิงบ่าวตั้ง" และผู้สร้างละคร "เพลิงพ่าย" (1990)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcmdKQfpdAU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsUzlbTjOB0

Thanks to Donsaron Kov for giving me Sunanta's interview.

"ที่บ้านโดนปล้น พ่อโดนยิง เรื่องมันเกิดขึ้นมา 30 กว่าปี จะฝังใจที่พ่อตายต่อหน้า ถูกยิงตอนเราอายุประมาณ 12-13"

"มากรุงเทพฯมาอยู่บ้านพี่สาวกับพี่เขย พี่เขยขึ้นหา เลยออกจากบ้าน"

"เข้าประกวดนางสาวไทยด้วยนะคะ ปีนิภาภัทร สุดศิริ เข้ารอบ 30 คน"

"แกไปงานกับผู้หญิงคนหนึ่ง ตัวเตี้ย เราเห็นแล้วรูปร่างเรากินขาด จริตจะก้านสู้เราไม่ได้หรอก"

"ทำขนมบ้าบิ่นขาย เพราะอยู่ได้หลายวันกว่าจะเสีย ฝรั่งถามอะไร บอกเครซี่ คุ้กกี้"

"มีคนหนึ่งพูดให้ได้ยินว่า ไม่มีพี่น้อยอู๊ดแย่แน่ อู๊ดเป็นคนที่ฆ่าได้ หยามไม่ได้ ก็ทำต่อ ทนมาเป็นปี"

"พอเรื่องขิงก็ราข่าก็แรงไปได้ดี ใช้หนี้ใกล้จะหมด ต่อด้วยเรื่องเพลิงพ่าย ซัคเซสมาก ห้องตัดต่อของเราเอง ทำเองหมดทุกอย่าง มีความรู้สึกว่าขอไปนอนที่โรงแรมดุสิตธานี โทร.บอกสามี สามีเริ่มโกรธ เริ่มระหองระแหง"

"ลูกเหมือนน้ำเย็นๆ เราเหมือนไฟ อะไรที่เราวางแผนไว้จะล้างแค้น พอเห็นหน้าลูก เรามีความรู้สึกว่า ทำไม่ลง ห่วงลูก"


































































































Favorite Thai Songs 8: UNDER MALULEE TREE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OneEgVPOQDM

Thanks to Chanchana for telling us about this song.

HAIKU (2009, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, A+)

I like the inexplicable quality of the second shot, and the homoerotic tinge of the third shot very much.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjan47_haiku-apichatpong-weerasethakul_shortfilms

It is a part of VISION DU RÉEL:

" To commemorate the 15th anniversary of Visions du Réel, the festival has asked select filmmakers for the gift of images, in the form of cinematic haikus. Each short film in the Haiku series is comprised of “three shots to contemplate reality and to capture, in the manner of Japanese poems, the unforeseeable, fleeting eternity of a moment, to be discovered at the beginning of each projection.""

I discovered this film from Dave McDougall's Favorite Film of 2011 list:
http://chainedtothecinematheque.blogspot.com/2012/01/2011-year-in-cinema.html

CINEPHILE CHALLENGE PHASE III DAY 3

Phase III Day 3: Your favorite Fellini film: JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (1965)
http://www.facebook.com/30daycinephilechallenge




JSDREAM.8 (2011, Feyyaz, Germany, A++++++++++)

http://vimeo.com/34096103

ULTRA MODERN (2011, Adam Wingard)

It reminds me of Gaspar Noé's film.
http://vimeo.com/33196409

Thanks to Chayanin for telling us about this.

ULTRA MODERN is a part of the omnibus film 60 SECONDS OF SOLITUDE.
http://60sec.ee/directors

Sunday, January 01, 2012

CINEPHILE CHALLENGE PHASE III DAY 1

30 Day Cinephile Challenge: Phase III: Day 1: Your favorite Bergman film: THE SILENCE (1963)
http://www.facebook.com/30daycinephilechallenge




FAVOURITE SOUTHEAST ASIAN FILMS I SAW IN 2011

I made this list for Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa.

1. ANTHEM (2011, Proxy, Thailand, video installation in an exhibition curated by Josef Ng at WTF Gallery)
http://wtfbangkok.com/index.php/2011/11/19/proxy/

2. LEASTWAYS/MODERATE WAYS/EXTREME WAYS (2011, Tritos Termarbsri, Thailand, 90 min)
http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2011/12/leastwaysmoderate-waysextreme-ways-2011.html

3. FORGET ME NOT (2010, Napat Chaithiangthum, Thailand, 30 min)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf9YXI3fJcI

4. WHY DO YOU JUMP? (2011, Korn Kanogkekarin, Thailand, 19 min)

5. GAZE AND HEAR (2010, Nontawat Numbenchapol, Thailand, 10 min)

6. UNDO (2011, Cierlito Tabay + Moreno Benigno, Philippines, documentary, 19 min)

7. ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE (2009, Rob Lemkin + Thet Sambath, Cambodia, documentary)

8. ONE SUNNY MORNING (2011, Bk Lim, Singapore, 18 min)

9. THE TANK (2011, Gino Santos, Philippines, 7 min)

10. AFTERNOON RIVER EVENING SKY (2010, Edmund Yeo, Malaysia, 19 min)