Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 23-29, 2010

Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity): Director's Cut

The lush-period potboiler Eternity (Chua Fah Din Salai, ชั่วฟ้าดินสลาย), is even more epic in a director's cut by ML Bhandevanob Devakula.

The director who's also known as Mom Noi has added one hour to the theatrical version that was released in Thai cinemas back in September, and was a summer sleeper hit, gradually gaining momentum at the box office as word of mouth spread.

The director's cut, which will screen for two weeks at House cinema, is said to be a more accurate presentation of Mom Noi's screenplay and will explain more about the motivation of the three characters.

After the Bangkok run, Mom Noi will submit his uncut version to film festivals.

Adapted from a 1943 novella by Malai Choopinit, Chua Fah Din Salai is about a love triangle that develops between a Burmese timber baron, his attractive younger wife and the man's handsome young nephew. Among the iconic images from the story is that of the cheating lovers chained together for eternity. Previous film adaptations include the 1955 version directed by Tawee "Khru Marut" na Bangchang and filmed by Ratana Pestonji.

Ananda Everingham and "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak star as the lovers in this sizzling new adaptation. Theerawong Liawrakwong portrays the uncle.

Chua Fah Din Salai: Director's Cut runs until January 5 at House on RCA, showing in digital HD with English subtitles. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Tron: Legacy – Haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father 25 years before, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) tracks down his dad's last known whereabouts – a long-shuttered video-game arcade. Behind a secret door is an old computer, still running. Sam reissues the last command and he's transported to the Grid, the virtual gaming world that his father created. Dad's still there, and so is his alter-ego gone-bad, Clu. Jeff Bridges, 61, reprises his role from Disney's original Tron in 1982, playing the naturally aged Kevin Flynn and through a digitized de-aging process as the still-young evil Clu2. Olivia Wilde, Beau Garrett and Michael Sheen also star. Critical reception is mixed, with the consensus that the humanity and the story get lost amidst the state-of-the-art special-effects dazzle. In 3D at some cinemas, including Imax. Rated 15+.

Hanamizuki – Two determined students meet and fall in love, but their divergent paths mean it will be a long-distance relationship, and it doesn’t last. But that’s not the whole story in this romantic drama that was a hit in Japan back in August. Yui Aragaki and Toma Ikuta star. At House and the Lido. Rated G.

Tees Maar Khan – Akshay Kumar is a slick international conman in this action-comedy co-starring Katrina Kaif and directed by Farah Khan. In Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit tonight and tomorrow at 8 and on Sunday at 7.30 and at Major Cineplex Rama III Saturday at 8 and on Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Also showing

Movies on the Beach – Thai films are being screened in the classic nang klang plang (open-air) style nightly until Sunday at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok Hotel on Charoenkrung Road.

Filmmaker Pantham Thongsang curates the program, mixing classics with contemporary Thai movies. In keeping with the nang klang plang tradition, some of the films are dubbed live by a team of voiceover artists, who perform all the roles and handle the sound effects as well, mimicking gunfire with blows to the microphone and having swordfights with the forks and spoons they used for their dinner. They are often more entertaining to watch than what's showing on the screen.

Here's what's on tap from tonight:

  • Thursday: Monrak Luk Thung (Magical Love in the Countryside) – This smash-hit musical stars Mitr Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowarat. It played in cinemas for six months in 1970.
  • Friday: Insee Tong (Golden Eagle) and Insee Dang (The Red Eagle) – This double feature bookends the final film in the long-running action series that starred Mitr Chaibancha as a masked vigilante crimefighter. He died on October 8, 1970, in a fall from a helicopter that is featured as the final stunt in Insee Tong. Then there's The Red Eagle, the action-packed reboot of the franchise by director Wisit Sasanatieng and starring Ananda Everingham, who brings a fierce and unforgiving interpretation to the role of Thailand's Dark Knight.
  • Saturday: Christmas night will offer spirituality and laughs in the Buddhist monk movies Luang Ta 3: Seeka Khang Wat from 1991 and 2005's smash-hit comedy Luang Phee Theng (The Holy Man).
  • Sunday: Khang Lang Phab (Behind the Painting) – This 2001 romantic drama is the final film by the late director Cherd Songsri. "Ken" Theeradej Wongpuapan and Cara Pholasit star.

The showtime is sometime shortly after dusk. The hotel is easily reachable by a shuttle boat running every half hour to Saphan Taksin pier. Tickets are Bt350 for one screening and Bt450 for the double features, and the price includes a choice of drink and some food from the menu. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Thai Film Foundation. Call (02) 688 1000.

Naissance des pieuvres (Water Lilies) – The debut film by Céline Sciamma, this sexually charged 2007 teenage romantic drama is set at a swimming pool that's home to a girls' synchro-swim team. Adele Haenel is Floriane, the team's star. Her biggest admirer is the moody, plain Marie (Pauline Acquart), who's always hanging around watching Floriane. A love quadrangle is formed by Marie's best friend Anne (Louise Blachère), who has a hopeless crush on male swimmer François (Warren Jacquin) – Floriane's secret lover. It was nominated for three César Awards – best first film for Sciamma and most promising actress nods for Haenel and Blachère. It's showing with English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, December 29 at the Alliance Française.

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