Monday, 24 May 2010


Congratulations to P'Joei Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his team for winning the Palme D'Or at Cannes this year for Uncle Boonmee Recalls his Past Lives . . .

In his own words "I would like to thank all the spirits and all the ghosts in Thailand who made it possible for me to be here " . . .

Props to Tim Burton, the president of the Jury . . .for letting this film which is described as "barely a film; more a floating world" by the Telegraph to WIN . . .

This hopefully is only the beginning and will make it more apparent that his vision, talent and achievements should not just thrive away from home.


PS. Thank you to Kong Rithdee, P'Lee and the team at CNN for making an exclusive interview of P'Joei at Cannes exclusively for Channel 9 and ASEAN TV possible . . .should be broadcasted tmr.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Fountainhead by The Simpsons . . .

. . .precisely why Toohey was an ass and we should never allow mediocrity and just being normal to thrive in society . . . Long live Maggie Roark.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Shakespeare Must Die . . .

is the new feature film from Ing K (of Citizen Juling and My Teacher Eats Biscuits). It is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth where Ing kept the Bard's imambic pentatemeter in her Thai translation, it is a political thriller of which is as much satire of the political situation of Thailand as it is a harsh criticism of it.  It does not take much imagination to guess who is Macbeth and Lady M in the context of Thai politics but low and behold, there are twists in this adpation and layers . . .in fact the movie will function on 3 dimensions - in real life, in the theatre and on TV.  It is perhaps ironic that at present Bkk has been somewhat taken hostage and we are in a political quagmire that is complex at best, futile at worse but perhaps a necessary part of the growing pains of our nation. . .how much of the movie which is being filmed now is mimicking real life? Again, art imitating life . . but oddly at parallel times.  
If Shakespeare represents the freedom of expression and personal rights and freedoms, any leader who says that he must die is very wicked . . .Many theories, many answers but the one that is most enlightening is perhaps that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. . . thus no room for freedom, none at all.

on set
I make my screen "debut" as one of the 3 witches - I came to understand that wicked these witches were not, but actually they are catalysts for the exposure of truth, the ugly side of human nature and absolute power.  They are forces and parts of nature that inspire like muses for events to unfold and for what is meant to be to . .
Witch #1
tree of spirits
Me and the Director
witches and Macbeth
My inspiration to make my little debut was that I really wanted to undestand how the whole process worked, seeing as I have of really been inspired by teh people in it and seen more films.  It was really fun, the whole crew was awesome, it really is incredibly hard work, painstaking but so fun and fulfulling in many ways - 
P'Ing with P'Manit (Director of Photography) in front of painting by Chartchai (on set)

kids on set (actors)
a little preview of the movie . . . seeing as they do not wrap up for another month and then there is the whole festival process might be a while before this is at any theatre around here and well, let's see if Shakespeare (or what he represents in reality) is murdered . . .

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Not at a Theatre Near You

. . . and how you should be so wishing that "they" were. By "they" I mean good quality Thai independent films.  

I wrote an article in Thailand Tatler this month about how the greatest Thai films journey to international festivals and their creators are lauded abroad and in some cases are heroes but here in Thailand, they are not really given the time or funding that they deserve.  Times they are A-changin, a little, but definitely not enough, just because there is a film fund does not mean that things are different, especially when the Ministry of Culture are forced to defend themselves against protest for granting 100 million baht from a 200 million baht fund to one director for the 3rd sequel of his epic, very expensive film.  This has received a lot of attention and rightly so, as there is evidently something wrong when this can happen, i.e. when a Minister's discretion favours one man over many, and not because the many are not talented or able but because pre-conceived notions of what is culture or talent.  There is definitely no scope for using lack of merit in this case when these indepedent directors get funding and awards across the globe, their works meet and exceed international expectations.  It is a bit funny that they until recently and in a strange (italicised because the above scenario) way have only managed to garner support here. My little intro as to what the festivals mean and who the talents are. . . check out Thailand Tatler May 2010 - on newstands now.

A still from Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Recalls his Last Life - the cover for my Tatler feature . . . photo courtesy of Kick the Machine

Although not at a theatre near us yet but will be in competition in the Official Selection at Cannes next week is Apichatpong Weerasethakul's newest feature Uncle Boonmee Recalls his Last Life. Once again, Apichatpong, or P'Joei is up for the Palme  d'Or and thus a de facto national HERO, to me at least and I believe also to many.  It is evident that no compromises are made and if ever there is a director with integrity, it is him - it is evident in his work as well as his protest currently, together with P'Manit vs Ministry of Culture for the farce mentioned above.  It is no surprise then that he is also nominated for the Hugo Boss Art Prize this year.  

Uncle Boonmee Recalls his Last Life trailer
The trailer for his Cannes entry was just posted . . .it gives me goose bumps over and over again . . . There is something about the pace and the way the images speak to each other that in just 2:33 minutes one is at the edge of ones seat and lusting to see the film.  This clearly is the result of some genius editting.  I was not so sure what film editting was until I read Lee Chatametikool's interview that I stumbled across and have since found out that P'Lee is a long term collaborator of P'Joei's, and is the editor responsible for every important Thai film that has left this country in recent years and received funding and won prestigious awards abroad in the last few years.  Thus it is no coincidence that talent finds talent, no matter how destitute the environment in which they exist.  P'Lee's first feature is called, Past Love, but we will need to wait a little while to see it, but if his track record and his producers (P'Joei, Anocha and P'Thongdee) are anything to go by, it will be worth the wait. . . and hopefully by then things will have changed and a film like his will be a theatres near you.