Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening May 19-25, 2011

Enemies of the People

More than a decade in the making, the documentary Enemies of the People chronicles the efforts by Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath to gain the trust of a man who was second-in-command of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, a genocidal regime that was responsible for the deaths of 2 million people, including Sambath's father, mother and older brother.

In an attempt to understand the tragedy, Sambath sought to talk to the Khmer Rouge leaders, which led him to track down Brother No. 2, Nuon Chea.

Patiently and methodically, Sambath set aside the personal grief he had for his dead family members, and worked to get close to Nuon Chea as well as lower-ranking soldiers who carried out the killings.

At first Nuon Chea and the others were reluctant to talk about the Khmer Rouge, but Sambath persisted and eventually they talked about everything, even showing where the bodies were buried, and how they drew the knives across so many throats.

A collaborative effort with British journalist and filmmaker Rob Lemkin, the pair are now at work on their follow-up, Suspicious Minds, a documentary that explores the "reason" behind the Khmer Rouge killings.

Meanwhile the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia – the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal – under which the 84-year-old Nuon Chea is being detained awaiting trial for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, is set to start on June 27, with Nuon Chea on trial alongside former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary, his wife and ex-social affairs minister Ieng Thirith and former head of state Khieu Samphan.

Enemies of the People was screened earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, and has had screenings in Cambodia as well.

The film comes to Thailand through the Extra Virgin Company, marking the first foray into foreign film by the independent production and distribution company.

It's screening as part of the Extra Virgin Director's Screen Project at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Show times are at around 7 nightly with Saturday and Sunday matinees at around 2. Sambath and Lemkin will be present for Q&A sessions after the screenings tonight and on Friday. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Heralded by its gala premiere out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the fourth entry in the Pirates of Caribbean franchise has Johnny Depp again daubing on the black eyeliner and donning his tri-corner hat as the comical pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. He's on an adventure to find the Fountain of Youth. Joining the cast this time out is Penélope Cruz, a former love interest for Sparrow and the daughter of the dread pirate Blackbeard, who is portrayed with appropriate menace by Deadwood star Ian McShane. Geoffrey Rush also returns as the indestructible Captain Hector Barbossa, and Keith Richards is back as Jack Sparrow's pirate-captain father. Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha) takes over the helm from franchise director Gore Verbinski. Critical reception so far is mixed. At Cannes, there was more buzz about the red-carpet appearances by Depp, Cruz, Rush and other stars than there was about the movie. It's in 3D in some cinemas, including IMAX. Rated 13+.

Don’t Look Up – Hong Kong director Fruit Chan is best known for his creepy abortion thriller Dumplings starring Bai Ling, which was originally part of the pan-Asian shorts anthology Three Extremes and then expanded into a feature of its own. Fruit made a foray into English-language horror with 2009's Don't Look Up, a remake of Japanese director Hideo Nakata's 1996 thriller Joyû-rei (Ghost Actress). The story is shifted to Romania, where a young director (Reshad Strik) and his crew are making a movie about a gypsy curse, and the production seems to be haunted. Eli Roth, Rachael Murphy, Henry Thomas, Kevin Corrigan and Alyssa Sutherland also star. Critical reception is mixed. It's at House on RCA. Rated 18+.

The Ward – The first film in 10 years from master thriller director John Carpenter, The Ward is set in a haunted psychiatric hospital in the 1960s. Amber Heard stars. She's sent to this looney bin from hell after she sets a fire to a farmhouse. Critical reception is mixed. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Bangkok International Student Film Festival – The second edition of the annual showcase of student films offers more than 200 shorts and documentaries from around the world, with screenings from around 11am daily until tomorrow on the fourth and fifth floors of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

You Say You Want a Revolution – For the past several weeks, this exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre has been hosting retrospectives of short films by local indie filmmakers. This Saturday's screening features the work of Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, who has gained notoriety in the past several months after her feature film Insects in the Backyard was banned by the Ministry of Culture, whose authorities deemed the strong depictions of homosexual relations, sex acts and implied patricide harmful to Thai morals. The ban is being fought in the Thai courts and there's a legal defense fund you can contribute to. Tanwarin's been making short films for more than a decade now, and here's a great opportunity to see a selection of her work. The shorts include I'm Fine, Sai-Bai-Dee-Ka, in which the transvestite director is locked in a cage beside Democracy Monument, makeup melting off in the hot sun yet reassuring passersby that she's fine, just fine, thank you. There's also Where's My Doll?, which was made for the 2008 Thai Short Film & Video Festival's tribute to Thai cinema pioneer R.D. Pestonji. You can read more about the program at Limitless Cinema. The showtime is from 3 to 6pm on Saturday on the ninth floor of the BACC.

Scent of Oak (Roble de Olor) – The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand's Contemporary World Film Series is back, and they are heading to Cuba for their next outing with this award-winning 2004 drama and romance by Rigoberto López. A fact-based tale, Roble de Olor traces the tumultuous love story between a woman from Haiti and a German man, at the beginning of the 19th century in Havana. The mixed-race couple goes on to establish an important coffee plantation where they aim to create a Utopian society, working the fields alongside their slave laborers in a direct challenge to management practices at the time. To further encourage their workers, they form a classical-music orchestra and play Mozart, Haydn, etc. Arousing anger among other farmers as well as bureaucrats and the German man's own family, the stage is set for confrontation. For the screening supported by the Embassy of Cuba, Ambassador Lazaro Herrera will lay on treats his country is known for, including rum and cigars, as well as the the Cuban band Fascinacion from the Senor Pico restaurant at the Rembrandt Hotel. The show time is at 8pm on Monday at the FCCT. Admission is 150 baht for non-members and 200 baht for anyone want to light a stogie, sip rum or enjoy Cuban snacks.

Ridicule – Director Patrice Leconte’s sumptuously costumed 1996 period comedy is a satiric view of the court of Louis XVI in the 18th century, where a poor lord learns to play the delicate games of palace intrigue as he tries to get royal backing for a drainage project. Charles Berling, Jean Rochefort and Fanny Ardant star. Screens at 7.30pm on Wednesday, May 25, as the closing film of the "Special Festival de Cannes" at the Alliance Francais Bangkok.

No comments:

Post a Comment