Monday, May 02, 2011


Manussak Dokmai's retrospective will be held this Thursday at 1500-1800 hrs on the 9th floor of BACC. The details are as follows:

"ฉายหนังสั้นของ มานัสศักดิ์ ดอกไม้ 9 เรื่อง
ในงาน "You Say You Want a Revolution: เปลี่ยนเถิดชาวไทย"
5 พฤษภาคม 2554 เวลา 15.00-18.00 น.

-ข้อเท็จจริงเกี่ยวกับนายโดม สุขวงศ์ ตอน ภัยเงียบ
-งานเฝ้าระวังความฝันของบุคคล น่าเชื่อว่าทำลายศีลธรรมอันดีของประชาชน
-ข่าวกีฬา : พวกห่ากำลังไป พวกสัมภเวสีกำลังจะมา

ดำเนินรายการโดย ศาสวัต บุญศรี
ที่ชั้น 9 หอศิลป์กทม. ตรงข้ามมาบุญครอง เข้าชมฟรี

"ออกแบบโปสเตอร์โดยอาคิรา กังวานภัทร""

The retrospective is held by Bodin Theparat.

As for Manassak's films shown in this retrospective, I like SO BORED WITH MIDDLE CLASS (2005) and DREAM WATCH FOR ANYONE WHO IS BELIEVED TO VIOLATE GOOD MORALITY (2007) very much. They really defy definition.

Things I like very much in Manassak's films include:

1.I don't understand them, but I really enjoy them. HAUNT, which is Manassak's first film, seems to be a simple Thai ghost film at first, but after the film ends, I don't really know what happens in this film any more. SO BORED WITH MIDDLE CLASS is full of scenes which are beyond my understanding. But the puzzlement in Manussak's films is the real fun, not the cause of headache.

2. I'm not sure what "essay films" mean, but I guess many of Manussak's films can be classified as "essay films" or "cinematic pamphlets", because they present the social or political ideas of the director in a style which is the hybrid between documentary, fiction, and experimental films. I really like DIALOGUE (บทพูด) (2001), WAY OF THINKING 1: LAOTIAN SOLDIERS WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE THAI PEOPLE'S IDEAS (วิธีคิด 1: ทหารลาวขอเปลี่ยนแนวคิดคนไทย) (2002), DON'T FORGET ME (2003), DREAM WATCH FOR ANYONE WHO IS BELIEVED TO VIOLATE GOOD MORALITY, and SPORT NEWS: THOSE BASTARDS ARE LEAVING AND WILL BE REPLACED BY EVIL SPIRITS (2007) for their essayistic styles.

3.The simple styles in some of his films. Manussak's films don't require big production. Some of his films seem to be very simple, but very effective for me. If I remember it correctly, GAY MEGADANCE (2001) consists of a static shot of a man looking at the camera, then he bows down out of the frame, revealing a poster of a bare-chested Brue Lee behind him, then he raises his head, and we see some white stain on his mouth. DIALOGUE (2001) consists of a static shot of two people talking, though we don't see the face of these two. We only see some strange activities that they do while talking. THE TRUTH ABOUT MR. DOME SUKVONG: EPISODE – INVISIBLE THREAT (2005) simply interviews Dome Sukvong. The camera only focuses on his face. There are no other things in this documentary. But this is enough. To hear what Dome say, to look at his face, and to feel the love that Manussak has for Dome, which is unconsciously expressed in this film, are already extremely wonderful.

4. There is a shot in Manussak's film that I like very much, and I'm not sure why. It's a shot near the end of DREAM WATCH FOR ANYONE WHO IS BELIEVED TO VIOLATE GOOD MORALITY, in which we see Dome Sukvong waking up from his table, and we hear him talking about his strange dream about Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat (if I remember it correctly). I don't know if that shot is a documentary of fictional shot. It looks very much like Dome really waking up.

5.Manussak's films have some scenes which are unlikely to be found in most Thai films, such as the scene in DREAM WATCH FOR ANYONE WHO IS BELIEVED TO VIOLATE GOOD MORALITY, in which the image is clear, then blurred, then clear, then blurred, without any obvious reasons.

6.His reference to some old Thai films, old Thai songs, and old Thai dialogues. DREAM WATCH FOR ANYONE WHO IS BELIEVED TO VIOLATE GOOD MORALITY refers to THE WORLD WILL END IN 10 DAYS (1987, Chana Pawaganont, F), which I considered one of the worst films ever made. SECRET ABOVE LOVE (ความลับเหนือความรัก) refers to DARK HEAVEN (1958, Rattana Pestonji).

Manussak's films unintentionally remind me of the last sentence in "The first Statement of the New American Cinema Group" (1961). That sentence is "WE DON'T WANT FALSE, POLISHED, SLICK FILMS—WE PREFER THEM ROUGH, UNPOLISHED, BUT ALIVE; WE DON'T WANT ROSY FILMS—WE WANT THEM THE COLOR OF BLOOD."

Manussak's films may be very different from the films of the New American Cinema, but I like the adjectives "rough", "unpolished", and "alive" very much, and I think these adjectives can very well be applied to Manussak's films.

If I have to screen Manussak's films with films by other directors, I think my list may include:

1.THE BANGKOK BOURGEOIS PARTY (2007, Prap Boonpan, 29 min)

2.THE PEN (2008, Weerasak Suyala, 60 min)

3.PROGNOSTIC (บุพนิมิต) (2009, Supakit Seksuwan, 8 min)

4.RED MOVIE (2010, The Underground Office, 38 min)

5.SAWADEEKA (1999, Kullachat Jitkajornwanit + Luechai Pohsakul, 6 min)

1 comment:

celinejulie said...

I like Filmsick's observation on the anger in Manussak's films very much. Maybe this is the reason why I feel that THE BANGKOK BOURGEOIS PARTY and RED MOVIE should be shown with Manussak's films, because these two films have a lot of anger in them.

I saw THE CITY OF SOME HAND PRESSING, THE CITY OF SOME HAND UNPRESSING, and SECRET ABOVE LOVE once last year. I remember that I like them a lot, and think they are very funny, but they don't impress me as much as Manussak's earlier films. Maybe one of the reasons is because these three films don't contain as much anger as Manussak's earlier films.