Monday, November 29, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Four short films for HM the King's 83rd birthday

Three Silpathorn Award laureates are among the directors of four short films that will screen at Bangkok's SF World Cinema at CentralWorld from today in a Film Festival in Commemoration of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King's 83rd Birthday Anniversary.

The films are:
  • Terribly Happy (สุดสะแนน, Sudsanan), directed by Pimpaka Towira
  • Superstitious (เกษตร ...ตะกอน), directed by Nonzee Nimibutr
  • Six to Six, (เพลงชาติไทย, Pleng Chat Thai) by Aditya Assarat
  • The Greatest Love, (รักที่ยิ่งใหญ่) by Sirisak Koshpasharin and Pranpaporn Srisumanant

Nonzee, Pimpaka and Aditya were given the Silpathorn Award in 2008, 2009 and this year, respectively. The prestigious contemporary-arts honor is conferred by Thailand's Office of Contemporary Art and Culture of the Ministry of Culture. Those government agencies are among the organizers of the film-festival project.

In Pimpaka's Terribly Happy, a young soldier stationed in southern Thailand takes his leave to return to his hometown in Udon Thani in the Northeast and finds that his girlfriend has a Westerner for a lover. He's angry as first, but learns forgiveness.

An e-mail from Pimpaka's production company Extra Virgin explains further:

Loosely translated as "terribly happy", Sudsanan is an Isaan expression meaning the state where all the sorrows and miseries end, leaving only the feeling of blissful happiness. Similarly, the main idea behinds this film is that human sufferings can be healed by learning how to give.

In a situation of severe conflict, we always think that there has to be a winner and loser. But the reality is that there is never a real winner. Any battle, big or small, always has a cause in greed, ego and self-centeredness.

The filmmaker is inspired by the speech of His Majesty the King on Compassion, which is one of the Ten Royal Virtues. The filmmaker hopes that this film will help bringing about the importance of compassion and generosity in our society on all levels, no matter what social status or language.

There's also a trailer for Pimpaka's Terribly Happy.

Aditya's Six to Six was completed very quickly, and in fact was only shot earlier this month! The Pop Pictures blog explains how they did it.

Here's more about Six to Six:

One afternoon, Kaen, Noi, and Pa Nit, employees of an old apartment building, are cleaning the master’s room on the top floor. They eat lunch, chat about this and that, and enjoy the cool breeze from the canal. At six o’clock they wait for the national anthem to mark the passing of another peaceful day in the kingdom.

Director’s Statement

I’m just a normal person. I’ve never met the King, never even seen him, except on TV. I suspect most Thai people are like me. So I wanted to make a film from the perspective of the small people living in this kingdom. As a man we may not know His Majesty, but as a symbol, his presence is felt all around us, like the warm sunlight or the cool breeze of an afternoon, a constant amid the conflicts currently afflicting our nation.

The Greatest Love, a melodrama extolling the virtues of His Majesty's "sufficiency economy" theories, is screened in 3D as well as 2D. The 3D version screens by itself at 10.30 daily until Friday. The 2D version is screened with the other three shorts.

There are also two feature films, So the short films aren't screening in all sessions. There's also The Ultimate Dream (ปิดทองหลังพระ ตอน ความฝันอันสูงสุด), about military heroes, starring Maj-Colonel Wanchana Sawatdee (Naresuan) and Sornram Theppituk, and 9 Mahasan-Ong-Rachan-Palang-Pan-Din (๙ มหัศจรรย์ องค์ราชัน พลังแผ่นดิน), which is a compilation of segments about nine miracles.

The screenings are at SFW CentralWorld. Free tickets are at a table in the lobby. You can also check this spreadsheet for the schedule.

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