Borders are breaking down in indie filmmaker Aditya Assarat's sophomore feature, Hi-So (ไฮโซ).
Inspired by Aditya's own life - he was raised in Thailand but spent half his life going to school in the U.S. - Hi-So is a bifurcated look at a melancholy man who doesn't fit in either place.
Ananda Everingham stars. He plays a Thai actor who's recently moved back to Thailand after years in the States. While making a movie on location in Phang Nga Province (the same setting as Aditya's 2008 debut Wonderful Town), he's visited on set by his American girlfriend (Cerise Leang) and is having trouble connecting to her. Later he's back in Bangkok and has a Thai girlfriend (Sajee Apiwong), and can't relate to her either.
It's a movie of halves, with the first in English and the second in Thai.
"By the nature of the structure, the two halves always reflect each other, and I always thought it would be like the same movie being played over again," Aditya told The Nation last month. "Even some of the conversations are the same, except one is in English and the other in Thai."
Aside from getting a highly personal project out of his system, Aditya says the aim of Hi-So is to depict a modern Thailand that's been changed by globalization.
"It's a contemporary Asian film. It's about what it's like to live in Thailand now and what it feels like to live in Asia now, where there's a breakdown of culture and borders. We're all becoming one Asian culture," he says. "A hundred years ago, to be born in Thailand meant something. It meant that you spoke Thai and you never left the country and you were Thai. Now it could mean anything. You can speak English or Japanese and you don't eat Thai food. You watch Korean TV shows or French movies and you wear your hair the way people wear it in Brazil."
Enthusiasts of contemplative cinema, as well as as fans of indie Thai films and Ananda will probably enjoy Hi-So, which despite all the brooding by its star, has its entertaining moments, thanks in large part to the two fabulous female leads and a colorful supporting cast.
Hi-So premiered a year ago at the Busan International Film Festival and his played the circuit, hitting Tokyo, Berlin and recently Singapore, among other fests. It also had a limit run in New York.
Find out more about the movie at its Facebook page. There's also an official YouTube channel, which includes the trailer (embedded below), cool clips from the soundtrack and a couple of short films by Aditya that are closely linked to Hi-So – 6 to 6 (part 2 here) and Bangkok Blues (part 2 here).
Part of the Extra Virgin Director's Screen Project, Hi-So is in limited release for the next month at three SF cinemas: CentralWorld, Central Lat Phrao and SF Cinema City at the new Terminal 21 mall at the Asoke intersection. Showtimes during the first week of release are at 7 nightly with additional Saturday and Sunday matinees around 2 or 2.30. Check the SF bookings site to make sure. Rated 13+.
30+ Sode on Sale (30+ โสด on Sale, a.k.a. 30+ Singles on Sale) – Putthiphong Promsakha na Sakon Nakhon, the director of last year's teenybopper hit First Love (Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk, สิ่งเล็กๆ ที่เรียกว่า...รัก,), a.k.a. A Crazy Little Thing Called Love or A Thing Called Love, has another movie out. Only this time, instead of spying on the romantic life of a high-school girl, he's got a 30-year-old woman on his hands in 30+ Singles on Sale. "Ploy" Cherman Boonyasak stars, playing a rare comedic role. She's a photographer, who, at the age of 32, has just been dumped by her longtime boyfriend. Phichitra Siriwetchachaphan and the impish "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom are her supportive best friends who aim to get her back in action. She soon meets a handsome fortuneteller (musician-actor "Pe" Arak Amornsupsiri) who says if she doesn't find a new boyfriend soon, she'll have to wait years for another. 30+ is one of a pair of Thai thirtysomething romance movies being released. The other, due next month, is 30 Kamlung Jaew, starring "Um" Patcharapha Chaichuea. The Nation has a story about them both. Rated G.
Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World – Robert Rodriguez reboots his old Spy Kids franchise with a fresh pair of young recruits. Jessica Alba heads the cast in this one. She's a young mother who retired from her life as a secret agent after her last mission went awry. However, her old enemy the Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) again threatens the world. And, her two stepchildren (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook) are drawn into the plot when they are recruited by the spy kids division. Original Spy Kids Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega are also back, as is Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo. Ricky Gervais is the voice of the kids shaggy dog robotic dog Argonaut. Critical reception is mostly negative, but kids and die-hard Rodriguez fans will probably have fun. The movie is advertised as being "in 4D with Aroma-Scope", meaning it's in 3D and you're supposed to get a scratch-and-sniff card to use during certain scenes to add that fourth dimension. Rated G.
The Smurfs – The little blue people first appeared as a comic book by Belgian cartoonist Peyo in the 1950s and became an animated TV series in the 1980s. Now, in this self-parodying animated/live-action feature, the Smurfs are chased from their magical land by their arch-nemesis the wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) and end up in New York City. There, they are taken in by an uptight young man (Neil Patrick Harris) and his wife (Jayma Mays). Much smurfing around ensues. The voice cast includes veteran comedian Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf and singer Katy Perry as Smurfette. Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo, Beverly Hills Chihuahua) directs. Critical reception is mostly negative, but children and Smurfs fans will probably enjoy it. Rated G.
Home Movie Day – The Thai Film Archive hosts a Home Movie Day event on Saturday, October 15, at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, 5th-floor auditorium, from 11am to 6pm. They'll have various activities, including screening of old movies, highlighting the historical importance of old home movies. Some fine examples can be found on the Thai Film Archive's National Heritage Films Registry. You can find out more about the event, which is held worldwide, at the website, HomeMovieDay.com. For more information, call (02) 482 2013-14, ext. 111.
La folle histoire d'amour de Simon Eskenazy – Ten years after Man Is a Woman, Simon Eskenazy has become a celebrated performer of Jewish traditional music. His intrusive mother, ex-wife and 10-year-old son, who he has never seen, all turn up at his place, followed by Naim, a young Muslim transvestite who will change his life. Jean-Jacques Zilbermann directs this 2008 comedy starring Antoine de Caunes, Mehdi Dehbi and Elsa Zylberstein. In French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday October 19 at the Alliance Francaise.