He will not be the only French-decorated Thai as the WFFBKK kicks off with “Mekong Hotel”, a 60-minute film by Cannes award-winning director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who has also received the decoration from the French government.
A few other Thais have received the honour too, including Apinan Poshyananda, permanent secretary of the Culture Ministry.
“I learned about it in the middle of this year, and it’s the greatest honour of my life. It proves that all I have done and the effort I put in has paid off,” Victor said.
To people in the cultural scene, Victor does deserve such an honour and recognition. His contributions haven’t been limited to the WFFBKK, which he has served as director for a decade. He also has directed plays and this year helmed Nation Broadcasting’s first stage production, “Reya: The Musical”.
In his early days, he was a student who frequently visited the Alliance Francaise in Bangkok to watch alternative films. He won a scholarship to study classical theatre at one of the world’s best schools, L’Ecole Florent. He called it an “eye-opening” experience.
“It was in Paris where I indulged myself in Indian and Japanese classics. To me, the French capital is the centre of all forms of art and culture,” he said.
He continues to bridge the gap between Thai and foreign cultures. After staging a number of plays, including Pierre de Marivaux’s “The Game of Love and Chance” and “The Isle of Slaves” – the latter in likay form as well as “Carmen” with Thai shadow puppets – Victor joined the WFFBKK as a director, putting Bangkok on the world’s crowded international-film-festival map. His responsibility means he attends film festivals all over the world to select films.
“The Cannes Film Festival is a must and it’s like my second home there,” Victor said.
However, Victor would tell everyone that today’s highlight is the participation in the World Film Festival of Bangkok’s biggest guest, French director Leos Carax. The normally secretive filmmaker will accept the festival’s Lotus Award in person and meet the audience.
Filmgoers will also enjoy celebrating his work as the festival will screen his fantasy-drama “Holy Motors”, which premiered at Cannes this year. It features Australian singer Kylie Minogue in a minor yet meaningful role. Carax’s earlier films “The Lovers on the Bridge” and “Mauvais Sang” will also screen at the WFFBKK as part of a tribute to the director.
The WFFBKK runs until November 25 at the Esplanade Cineplex Ratchada. Tickets are priced at Bt100.
The programme and details can be viewed at www.worldfilmbkk.com.