Monday, August 16, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Chula Film Fest 2010, August 16-September 3

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Chulalongkorn Film Festival 2010, August 16-September 3

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives may be getting a lot of attention this year after winning the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, but there's a bunch of other major award winners from Cannes and other festivals that haven't hardly been seen in Bangkok.

And so the Chulalongkorn University International Film Festival 2010 continues, bringing in six more award-winning films from six countries, none of which have been commercially released in Thailand.

Here's the line-up:

  • Monday, August 16, The Cove (USA)
  • Friday, August 20, The White Ribbon (Austria)
  • Monday, August 23, Thirst (South Korea)
  • Friday, August 27, Sin Nombre (Mexico)
  • Monday, August 30, Samson and Delilah (Australia)
  • Friday, September 3, A Prophet (France)

Stay on afterward for a talk with film critics Kittisak Suvannapokhin, Nopamat Veohong and the Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee.

The show time is 5pm in the Boromrajakumari Building, Room 503 (seating capacity: 320). There's free parking next to Chulalongkorn University Auditorium. The movies are on DVD, all the original soundtracks and English subtitles. Admission is free.

The festival is presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, with support from the Cultural Centre.

For more details, call (02) 218 4802 or visit

Here's the breakdown on each movie

The Cove – Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary of 2009 (among 24 other wins and nominations), this highly controversial film follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action. Louie Psihoyos directs. with support from Richard O'Barry, the technical adviser and trainer for the Flipper TV series back in the 1960s.

The White Ribbon – In a village in Protestant northern Germany, on the eve of World War I, the children of a church and school run by the village schoolteacher and their families experience a series of bizarre incidents that inexplicably assume the characteristics of a punishment ritual. Who could be responsible for such bizarre transgressions? Leonie Benesch, Josef Bierbichler and Rainer Bock star in director Michael Haneke's 2009 Palme d'Or-winning period drama.

Thirst – Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho of The Host) is a priest who cherishes life; so much so, that he selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project meant to eradicate a deadly virus. But the virus takes the priest, and a blood transfusion is urgently ordered up for him. The blood he receives is infected, so Sang-hyun lives – but now exists as a vampire. Struggling with his newfound carnal desire for blood, Sang-hyun’s faith is further strained when a childhood friend’s wife, Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin), comes to him asking for his help in escaping her life. Sang-hyun soon plunges into a world of sensual pleasures, finding himself on intimate terms with the Seven Deadly Sins. Directed by Park Chan-wook, Thirst got the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Sin Nombre (Without Name) – Making its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival where it won two awards in direction and cinematography, Sin Nombre is an epic dramatic thriller from award-winning director Cary Fukunaga. Seeking the promise of America, a beautiful young Honduran woman, Sayra (Paulina Gaytan), joins her father and uncle on an odyssey to cross the gauntlet of the Latin American countryside en route to the United States. Along the way she crosses paths with a teenaged Mexican gang member, El Casper (Edgar M. Flores), who is maneuvering to outrun his violent past and elude his unforgiving former associates. Together they must rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives.

Samson and Delilah – Samson and Delilah’s world is small – an isolated community in the central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes, they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges. Written and directed by Warwick Thornton, who was awarded the Camera d’Or for best first feature at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. The president of the jury, Roshdy Zem, said "...probably the best love story that we have seen in many years. An immensely memorable film."

A Prophet – Condemned to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim, who won European Film Awards’ Best Actor for this role), part Arab, part Corsican, cannot read or write. Arriving at the jail entirely alone, he appears younger and more fragile than the other convicts. He is 19 years old. Cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang currently ruling the prison, he is given a number of "missions" to carry out, toughening him up and gaining the gang leader`s confidence in the process. Malik is a fast learner and rises up the prison ranks, all the while secretly devising his own plans. An Academy Award nominee, director Jacques Audiard's A Prophet won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival 2009, a BAFTA award for best foreign-language film and nine César Awards.

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