Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening October 4-10, 2012

In April the Following Year, There was a Fire

Wichanon Sumumjarn directs this partly autobiographical experimental drama in which a young man is thrown out of his job by political instability and returns to his hometown in the Northeast.

Here's the synopsis for In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire (สิ้นเมษาฝนตกมาปรอยปรอย, Sin Maysar Fon Tok Ma Proi Proi), from the movie's Facebook page:

Nuhm is a construction foreman working in Bangkok. The political instability in Thailand has made its presence felt in all business sectors. Nuhm suddenly finds himself out of jobs. He decides to leave Bangkok to go back to his hometown in the northeast of Thailand to attend his high school friend’s wedding during the Thai New Year in April, which also happens to be the hottest month of the year.

Nuhm reunites with his old friends at the wedding in Khon Kaen. He also runs into Joy, a senior from his high school whom he used to have a crush on, and is now an office woman. They exchange their phone numbers.

Suddenly, the film turns into another direction. Some interview footage of the director’s father and brother is included, and we learn that the film is a semi-autobiography of the director’s life. The character of Nuhm is, nonetheless, as much a construct as it is real.

From this point on, the film becomes the voyage of a young man into the labyrinths of thereal and the imagined, the documentary and the fiction, the past and the present – and notonly of his self but also of the Thai society writ large.

Produced by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Mundane History) and Electric Eel Films, it's the debut feature by Wichanon, who made his mark with the award-winning short film Four Boys, White Whisky and Grilled Mouse.

In April premiered this year at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and has played at many, many festivals since then. In addition to it's limited release in Bangkok this week, it's also one of several Thai films at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

It's in a two-week release at House on RCA, with showtimes for this week set at 3.45 and 7pm with Q-and-A sessions after the 7pm shows Friday to Sunday. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Yak: The Giant King (ยักษ์) – Here's another animated feature about robots, but this one has a Thai twist, with the Ramayana serving as the main inspiration. It takes place a million years after a war between Rama's robot army and the giants, with the giant king waking up to find himself chained to one of his former enemies, a little Hanuman robot. Neither remember who they are, and so they become friends and set off on an adventure to free themselves. Released by Sahamongkolfilm International, this is the second Thai animated feature film this year following Echo Planet. There's even an English soundtrack with Thai subtitles at CentralWorld, Emporium, Esplanade Ratchada and Paragon. Rated G.

Taken 2 – Liam Neeson is back to kick more butts in this sequel to the hard-hitting 2008 kidnapping thriller. Four years ago, he took brutal action after his daughter was abducted by a white-slavery ring in Paris. Now, he and his ex-wife are taken hostage in retaliation. Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace and Rade Serbedzija also star. Critical reception, so far, is mixed. But if you liked what you saw in the first Taken, then you'll probably like this. Rated 15+.

Won’t Back Down – Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis star in this fact-based drama as two determined mothers who risk everything as they battle an entrenched bureaucracy in an effort to transform their children's failing inner-city school. Holly Hunter also stars. Critical reception is mixed, though there's praise for the way this social-problem movie highlights hot-button issues. At Major Cineplex. Rated 13+.

Finding Nemo – You'll have to wear special glasses if you want to see Pixar's much-acclaimed 2003 talking-fish tale again. It’s the story of a neurotic little single-dad clownfish who sets out on an epic quest to find his missing son around Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneres are among the main voice cast. In 3D. Rated G.

You're My Pet – This South Korean romantic comedy is based on the manga by Yayoi Ogawa, which was previously done as a hit TV series. Kim Ha-neul stars as a young single woman on the rebound from a bad relationship. She comes across a young injured homeless man (Jang Keun-suk) living in a cardboard box and decides to adopt him as her pet. She names him Momo, after her beloved pet dog from childhood. Eventually, she develops strong feelings for the unusual young man, and also struggles to keep her "pet" a secret from co-workers and friends. At Apex Siam Square.

Also showing

Roman de gare (Crossed Tracks) – Claude Lelouch directs this critically acclaimed 2007 thriller starring Fanny Ardant, Audrey Dana and Dominique Pinon. It follows a novelist whose books may have been ghostwritten by a serial killer. It's in French with English subtitles at 7.30pm on Wednesday, October 10 at the Alliance Française.

Human Rights Film Series: Movies for Life – Amnesty International Thailand has organised a movie series to mark the 10th World Day Against the Death Penalty on October 10. The series, running October 10 to 12 at the Alliance Française, will consist of four films, the 2011 death-row documentary Into the Abyss, the Kevin Spacey drama The Life of David Gale, Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark starring Björk and the woman-on-death-row documentary Crime After Crime, along with other activities. See the Facebook events page for the schedule (in Thai).

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