World given three great reasons to watch Thai movies
March 22, 2016 01:00 By firstname.lastname@example.org
After collecting eight Subhanahongsa awards -the Thai version of the Oscar
He and fellow Thai directors Anucha Boonyawatana and Rutaiwan Wongsirasawasdi will be attending the 69th Cannes Film Festival from May 11 to 22 in the hope of securing financing to make more movies.
The Culture Ministry’s Thai Film Pitch rummaged through 21 prospective projects before deciding last week that Nawapol’s “Die Tomorrow”, Anucha’s “Malila” and Rutaiwan’s “To Become a Butterfly” were best-suited to promote the local film industry and Thai culture, not to mention Buddhism and the diversity of Thai society.
Nawapol’s “Die Tomorrow” entails six short segments all inspired by deaths reported in the Thai daily newspapers (not this one and, no, not that other one either). People die in accidents, from sickness, are murdered or just get too old. In each case they’re seen just before their death and immediately after. It’s all about the impermanence of life, you see – this appalling cycle of suffering and loss we’re apparently stuck with.
Nawapol’s concept poster for “Die Tomorrow” resembles a newspaper, bearing a black-and-white picture of three young ladies glued to their mobile phones, but beneath that the grim revelation of their demise: “Overloaded boat causes death of three schoolgirls”.
In “Malila”, Anucha explores the meaning of life and death by following a young monk on a journey. It’s full of charming traditional religious ceremonies and engaging philosophy. Anucha made waves last year with his psychosexual gay thriller “The Blue Hour”, which premiered to much acclaim at the Berlin film fest. It won special mentions at the New Flesh Awards at the Fantasia film fest in Montreal. It was also nominated for many Subhanahongsa Awards, but “Freelance” captured the bulk of those prizes. Now set for release in the US, “The Blue Hour” comes to the Museum of Modern Art in New York next month.
Finally, there’s “To Become a Butterfly”, Rutaiwan’s chance to return to the director’s chair after more than 10 years. It’s a drama about a mother devotedly raising an autistic child, teaching him to fit into society. A veteran film industry hand, Rutaiwan directed 2005’s “Wai Onlawon 4” and has long been a behind-the-scenes driving force at Hub Ho Hin and other film-production companies.
She was producer and screenwriter on “The Life of Gravity”, an indie low-budget drama that Pen-ek Ratanaruang shot with just his two actors, Cris Horwang and Peter Nopachai Jayanama, on a Sattahip beach. It was a made-for-TV effort, being broadcast on TrueVisions. More recently, she is working with Pen-ek again as a producer, this time on his latest effort, “Samui Song”, which we may be hearing more about soon.