Wanted: Screen and projector

Art March 02, 2013 00:00

By The Nation
E-mail ntsoopsip@g

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Pen-ek Ratanaruang's political documentary "prachathipatai" ("paradoxcracy") missed its highly anticipated February 7 screening while the film board brooded over it behind closed doors, but Pen-ek says the movie survived with only "some censorship".


Now he has another obstacle. “No venue wants to screen it!” he said this week. Evidently the theatre owners who enthusiastically previewed the movie lost their enthusiasm between its opening and closing credits. Why rock the boat, they say, now that the country is politically stable? 
As “stable” as an ice cube maybe. “My film is rather childish [meaning not particularly serious],” Pen-ek said. “I don’t understand what they’re scared of. It’s as if we’re back in the dictatorship era of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat – everyone self-censors.”
He’s got one more venue to try, and if the answer is still no, Plan B is a road trip with screenings in places like libraries – free but donations welcome. “I need more money to do another documentary – there are more ideas I want to talk about that aren’t in ‘paradoxcracy’.”
Mak’s back story
Banjong Pinsunthanakun said right up front that “Pee Mak Phra Khanong” – his comedic take on the classic ghost tale “Mae Nak Phra Khanong” – wouldn’t be faithful to the original, or to history. But people seeing teasers still wonder why the main characters look more Western than Thai (even given the fact that the farang-ish Mario Maurer and Davika Hoorne play the roles).
The latest movie trailer seals the suspicions and tucks them into bed. Mak (Mario) tells his friends, “Actually my name is pronounced Mark, but the only person who called me Mark was my Daddy, who’s already gone back to the United States with his fellow missionaries.”
Banjong is smart to get that bit of silliness out in public before the movie opens on March 28. The trailer makes it plain what viewers can expect – nothing but funny parody – thus defusing a potential explosion of early complaints that might have turned out to be lethal at the box office.