Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening July 7-13, 2011

The Tree of Life

Director Terrence Malick ponders the mysteries of the universe in The Tree of Life, winner of the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

It's the chronicle of a Texas family in the 1950s, headed by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, and focuses on the eldest son, from the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his domineering dad. Played as an adult by Sean Penn, the son Jack is a lost soul, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

The impressionistic, nonlinear story depicts the creation of the world in a much-talked-about 20-minute sequence created by pioneering 2001: A Space Odyssey special-effects wizard Douglas Trumbull, featuring exploding stars, primordial ooze and dinosaurs.

It's the fifth film in nearly as many decades from the enigmatic director of Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World. An LA Times profile reveals more about the reclusive Malick, including his love of quoting the Ben Stiller comedy Zoolander.

Critical reception is mostly positive, although it drew a mixed response at Cannes and even a few boos.

A theater in Connecticut earned much notice after it instituted a "no refund" policy as a result of the polarized audience response, advising patrons that the film "does not follow a traditional, linear approach to storytelling" and encouraging them to "read up on the film" and "go in with an open mind".

It's at Apex Siam Square, Paragon Cineplex and SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. Rated 13+.

Indie Spirit Project

Bioscope magazine kicked off its Indie Spirit Project last year by organizing a monthlong limited theatrical run of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. H
aving just won the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, it was one of the hottest tickets in town, with Bangkok's trend-followers flocking to see it. Now the screening series continues with two more independent films, screening nightly at SFW CentralWorld for the next two weeks starting on Friday:
  • Lumpinee – Director Chira Wichaisuthikul looks at the lives of youths in a Muay Thai camp in Trang, where they live and train from morning until night. Taking its name from the Bangkok boxing stadium where some bouts are filmed, Lumpinee screened earlier this year at the Salaya Doc Fest and premiered at last year's International Documentary Film Festival Rotterdam and was supported by the fest's Jan Vrijman Fund. Watch a trailer at YouTube. Rated 13+.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – Female empowerment is the common thread running through this trio of short mealtime romances by three Asian female directors, China's Wang Jing, Thailand's Anocha Suwichakornpong and Singapore's Kaz Cai. It premiered at last year's World Film Festival of Bangkok. Rated 15+.

and Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner are showing in back-to-back screenings nightly from Friday, starting at 7 at SFW CentralWorld. This week, Lumpinee is first, followed by BLD. Next week, the positions are reversed.

Also opening

Delhi Belly – Taking its name from the gastrointestinal ailment you might contract if you eat street food in India, this scatalogical comedy is about a trio of hapless young men, Imran Khan, Vir Das and Kunal Roy Kapur, who run afoul of New Delhi's underworld. Featuring a torrent of foul language, toilet humor, moronic mobsters and fast-moving action through India's capital, it's been likened by critics to The Hangover and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It's also been banned in Nepal. BollywoodThai brings it to Bangkok for screenings at 8pm on Friday at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai), 8pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday at Major Rama III and 7.30 on Sunday and 8pm on Monday at Major Sukhumvit. Call 0894882620 or 022257500 or visit

Also showing

European Union Film Festival – Starting today at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, the EU Film Festival will have screenings daily (except Monday) until July 17. This week's shows include the Polish thriller Erratum, the acclaimed Spanish childhood drama Camino, the German drama When We Leave, the Dutch speed-skating epic The Hell of '63, the Polish children's story The Magic Tree and the acclaimed Spanish prison drama Cell 211. The screenings are on DVD, with the original soundtracks and English subtitles, in the first-floor auditorium at BACC. Check the full line-up in an earlier blog entry, the festival's Facebook page (which has links to trailers) or a Google calendar.

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