Tag Archives: Thai movie

HEADSHOT: A Crime Noir by Pen-ek Ratanaruang

HEADSHOT is based on a novel called “Rain Falling Up the Sky” by a well-known Thai writer, Win Lyovarin. Initially, the author did not intend to write it as a novel, but rather as a script for an indie movie forming part of a film noir project. For some reason, it did not materialise, so the writer decided to transform the script into a novel instead; or as he called it, a film noir novel.

Every element of the book was written according to the concept of early Hollywood film noir: there is an investigation, murder, sex, corruption, crime, bad cops, prostitutes, gangsters or hoodlums, mafia, hitmen and so on, as well as a sexy sinister beautiful woman. The author also interspersed the story line with black and white images. The novel could easily be called a book noir with images, or a gallery novel. It is unsurprising that the novel is replete with a movie atmosphere such as the way the story develops, the use of flashback and a narrator voice over etc.

The movie version directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang is scheduled to be in the cinema in Thailand on 3rd November.

More details in English about the movie can be found via ThaiCinema.org: http://www.thaicinema.org/kits279headshote.asp

Note: WordPress would not allow me to link the web address to the website name above for some reason.

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Mindfulness and Murder (ศพไม่เงียบ)

This Thai movie is bound to be the talk of the town. Seeing the trailer, I can say that the director – Tom Waller – is courageous to touch on this area of Thai society. Some aspects of this movie are going to irk a few people in Thailand. The movie is fictional yet it contains some uncomfortable truths. I don’t think the film-maker set out to attack the religious establishment. There is no denying that some incidents portrayed in this movie actually happened when some dodgy and nefarious characters used religion as their safe haven in carrying out their sinful activities. Watching this movie might galvanise Thai people into looking critically at their religious beliefs and taking a practical approach to prevent people from hiding their immoral deeds under a veneer of religious asceticism.

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Kermode’s take on “Uncle Boonmee…”

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“Uncle Boonmee…” now showing at cinemas in the UK

Now it is time for British film-goers to be baffled, charmed, bemused, fascinated, confused, frustrated or even bored by this year’s Palme d’Or winning Thai film. “Uncle Boonmee…” is in UK cinemas from today. It will not surprise me at all if this quirky movie by Khun Apichatpong irks a lot of people who have not yet experienced his work. Anyway it does not matter as it is expected and “Uncle Boonmee…” – like Khun Apichatpong – is generous enough to let people feel whatever they want to feel about the film. It is open enough for those who want to give it ago and if you are open-minded and are able to stay with each moment of the film, you will find it pleasantly rewarding.

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Waves of guilt keep assaulting your conscience

After doing a terrible thing for his boss, Kyoji left Macau for a so-called vacation in Phuket, one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in Thailand. During this whole period of time, many inexplicable incidents happened to him.

‘Invisible Waves’ takes you to the world of Kyoji, the disoriented world which he, himself, hardly comprehends; nor does the audience. For him, everything seems to go wrong from the day after doing an unforgivable, unpleasant thing to Seiko, a woman whom he had been having an affair with. Here, we see him locking himself in a room, being robbed or even being betrayed.

The film was not meant to be entertaining, but for some bizarre reason, I had no difficulty enjoying this film. I felt like I was swept away by the waves into Kyoji’s locale. While watching this film, I had an atmospheric feeling of uncertainty. I was not sure what was happening, nor did the lead character, I guess. Since the whole movie was a bit gloomy, I could not even tell the time of day when the action took place, early evening or at the beginning of the day. It occurred to me that the director might have intended to create this dismal ambience. The story, hence, did not need to add up. Everybody could still enjoy the atmosphere.

According to Asian belief, if you do a bad deed you will suffer for the rest of your life. In this case, we saw Kyoji being a victim of his action. He even decided to punish himself. He accomplished what Kenji, in “Last Life in the Universe” failed to achieve; that is perfect happiness. As a matter of fact, the protagonists in both movies were played by Tadanobu Asano and the movies were also both directed by the same Thai director, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.

As some viewers have mentioned, this movie appears to have no plot, and many places in the movie appear dull and awful. It also takes quite a long time to develop from one scene to another. Even so, this movie is about a guy who is being punished because of what he has wrongly done in the past. A lot of things in this movie, therefore, need to be black, like the old saying “do good deserve good, do bad deserve bad”. It is a wave of guilt that keeps attacking his conscience. No one ever sees it, even Kyoji himself, but everybody can feel its existence.

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“Wonderful Town” on BBC iPlayer

The highly acclaimed movie by a Thai director, Aditya Assarat, is currently available on the BBC iPlayer page. If you want to watch this multi-award winning film, you will have to be quick as it will be available only until 1:24am Wednesday 1st September 2010. But I am not sure that people who reside outside the UK will be able to access BBC iPlayer. I heard somehow there is a way of watching it (VPN). You will have to figure that out for yourself.

About the film from the blurb on the DVD:

“Set in post-tsunami Thailand, Wonderful Town is a film about rebuilding – both structurally and emotionally after such an overwhelming and life-changing natural disaster. An architect, Ton (Supphasit Kansen), comes to town to work on the new blueprints and stays in a local hotel that seems to be a single handedly run by one woman, Na (Anchalee Saisoontorn). In time the two find comfort in each other’s arms, leading to a touching and tender romance – one that is in stark contrast to the backdrop of the town’s rubble, as well as Na’s bitter brother and his delinquent gang of friends.”

Sight & Sound magazine chose Wonderful Town to be Film of the Month in April 2009. “Film-makers like Aditya give the lie to all the talk of ‘the end of art cinema’ after the deaths of Bergman and Antonioni. He’s a serious-minded director, here tackling palpably real psychological and emotional issues, and the nearest his film comes to the ‘language’ of commercial movies is when he plays a song on the soundtrack over a driving sequence. (It’s a measure of his playful sense of irony that he calls his production company Pop Pictures.)”

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Chua faa din sa-lai

The movie is based on the classic Thai novel of the same name. The trailer has already caused a bit of a stir. It is exciting to see Ananda Everingham and Laila Boonyasak getting it on in the scene. The latter is simply delightful to look at. Don’t you agree?

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