Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thai films seen on Friday, July 29, 2011

1.APOCALYPSE LATER (2011, Palakorn Kleungfak, 15 min, A+)
โลกแตกใน (พลากร กลึงฟัก)
Palakorn still excels in parodying genre films or in making genre films with some twists of his own. His A VERY LONELY SINGLE ISOLATION MAN (2010, 15 min) parodies romantic films. His STILL (2009, 8 min) parodies contemplative films. APOCALYPSE LATER, as the title suggests, makes fun of the recent trend of making apocalyptic films, which are inspired by the year 2012 and the earthquake in Japan in March 2011.

However, APOCALYPSE LATER doesn't directly makes fun of other films. It is more like a comedy apocalyptic film. My most favorite scene is the one in which the survivors say some Buddhist prayers before they go to sleep. This act looks extremely ridiculous in the exact situation. This kind of praying is a daily ritual act, but it is hardly portrayed in Thai films before. I like it very much that this kind of praying is now portrayed in a film, and it is used in this film in an extremely funny way.

It is interesting that many Thai filmmakers make apocalyptic films early this year. I didn't expect that the earthquake in Japan, the year 2012, or the thought about the end of the world would affect many Thai filmmakers as much as this. And they are right to make films about this topic. It is as if they can sense something beforehand or predict something in the future, because a few months after the Marathon Film Festival, there is a big flood in Thailand which creates great suffering, huge chaos, and widespread panic in the central part of Thailand. Some Bangkokians spent the month of October and early November thinking that their normal life will end every day. The atmosphere in Bangkok and the fear of people now makes the current situation not much different from what happens in some apocalyptic films.

It is also interesting that Thai filmmakers treat apocalyptic theme differently. APOCALYPSE LATER and THE LAST NINE DAYS (9 วันสุดท้าย) (2011, Pongsakorn Ruedeekunrungsi, A++++++++++) are comedy films about this theme. FEAR (2010, Chanon Treenet, 20 min, A++++++++++) is a documentary which partly deals with this topic. LOVE (ครั้งหนึ่ง...เราเคยรักกัน) (2011, Suppasit Sretprasert, A+++++) and HEART (สิ่งเล็กๆที่เรียกว่าหัวใจ) (2011, Suppasit Sretprasert, A+++++) talk about the effects of natural disasters in a very lovely way. THE WOMB IN AQUARIUM (2010, Napat Treepalawisetkun, A++++++++++) is a sci-fi film dealing with the repressive society after the big flood. Teeranit Siangsanoh also makes some poetic apocalyptic films, including DARK WORLD, IN THE CITY (2010, 50:22 min), and THE LIGHT HOUSE (แสงสุริยะ) (2011, 43:13 min).

2.WILL YOU LEAVE ME TO DIE? (2011, Thip Sae-tang, 8 min, documentary, A+)
ลมหายใจรวยริน ริมแม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา: เรื่องของเขา หนังเรื่องของเรา หนังเรื่องของใคร? (ทิพย์ แซ่ตั้ง)

The subject of this film is interesting--a 200-year-old house in Bangkok. I also like it very much that Thip does not oversentimentalize the issue. I also wonder if the house is inundated now. I hope it survives the big flood.

I think the topic of old buildings is rarely touched by Thai documentarians. Personally I think old buildings are charming, because I like to imagine about the people who used to live there many years ago.

3.THE GRATEFUL SON (2011, Pattarapong Bunhor, 6 min, A+)
ลูกเทวดายอดกตัญญู (ภัทรพงศ์ บุญห่อ)
I like the homely quality of the film. Normally I don't like moralistic films, especially the ones which are beautifully made by rich university students. This film is moralistic, but its homely quality makes me forgive its moral lesson.

4.BE INNOCENT (2011, Thanet Kiatniyakrit, 15 min, A+/A)
เล่ห์เดียงสา (ธเนศ เกียรตินิยกฤต)

This film is great. I would like to give this film A++++++++++, because I like its concept, its execution, its performances, etc.

However, my personal bias makes me unable to love this film wholeheartedly, because I identify myself too much with the villainess or the anti-heroine of this film. The young girl who tries to imitate "the stereotyped villainess in Thai TV series" in this film reminds me of myself. I am the one who is extremely fascinated by villainess or anti-heroines in Thai TV series, such as Welulee in PLEARNG PAI (เพลิงพ่าย), Pitawan in MAYA, or the Queen Anantip in PLEARNG PRANANG. So when BE INNOCENT ends by suggesting that some children may imitate the killing in Thai TV series, I'm not sure I agree with this kind of thinking. I'm just afraid that this kind of thinking will support the censorship, which I'm totally against. Of course several children may imitate bad things in television, but I don't think it is the reason why general people should be deprived of the right to enjoy such TV series as PLEARNG PAI.

5.NEMESIS (2011, Tharadol Kongnuntakul, 25 min, approximately A+/A)
ลงทัณฑ์ (ธราดล คงนันทกุล)
I didn't see the first few minutes of this film. What I like very much in this film is its serious tone and its macho world, which I don't see much in Thai short films. The film somehow reminds me of such macho films as MEAN STREET BLUES (1997, Kid Suwonsorn, A+).

6.THE BREATH OF LONGING (2011, Pirun Anusuriya, B+)
ลมหายใจของความคิดถึง (พิรุณ อนุสุริยา)

7.FLESH AND BLOOD (2010, Taviras Amatyakul, 25 min, D)
เลือดสีเดียวกัน (ทวิรัส อมาตยกุล)
I'm not sure why I feel bad after seeing this film. The film is actually not bad at all. Its cinematography is stunning. Maybe its beauty suffocates me. I also don't like it that the soldier in this film is portrayed as a calm man whose manner reminds me of stereotyped Thai heroes, while the red-shirted man in this film is portrayed as a hot-blooded person. In conclusion, the film is not bad and it has something interesting in it, but I just feel bad after seeing it.

I also saw DARK WORLD (โลกมืด) (2010, Teeranit Siangsanoh, 52:33 min, A+++++), which was shown on that day, but I saw it outside the festival.

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