Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening November 15-21, 2012

10th World Film Festival of Bangkok

A scene from Holy Motors, one of the highlights of the World Film Fest.

The 10th World Film Festival of Bangkok opens tomorrow night with the Thai premiere of Mekong Hotel, the latest feature by celebrated Thai independent filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The opening will also include the presentation of the festival's Lotus Award for lifetime achievement to French director Leos Carax, whose latest film Holy Motors is among the many highlights of this year's festival.

After Friday night's invitation-only opening at Paragon Cineplex, the festival shifts over to the Esplanade Ratchada, where it runs from Saturday until November 25.

In a recent article in The Nation, festival director Victor Silakong and deputy director Dusit Silakong, offered their Top 10 choices for viewing during the festival.

Holy Motors, which was one of the most buzzworthy titles at this year's Cannes Film Festival, is a fantasy drama about a shadowy man who assumes different roles each night as he hits the streets of Paris. Denis Lavant stars, along with Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue.

Other picks include Le Havre, another typically wry-humored offering about a lost soul from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. It was a major hit on last year's festival circuit and was France's submission to the Oscars.

Others are the closing film Fados, about Portugal's enduring musical genre; the Taiwanese teen romance You Are the Apple of My Eye, the Thai documentary The Elephant Shaman, about the country's last living "elephant whisperer"; Under Snow, a unique look at the traditional lifestyle of Japan's snow-covered Echigo region; the polarizing Mexican family drama Post Tenebras Lux, the "Brazilian Cinema Paradiso" Cine Holliúdy, the Japanese documentary No Man's Zone about the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the South Korean adoption drama Barbie.

Download the schedule at the festival website, and show up whenever you have time. I can almost guarantee that you'll find something a lot more interesting than the only other movie opening in cinemas this week.

Also opening

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 – Finally, after five movies, it's over. Or is it? Word is that author Stephanie Meyer and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg have penned a surprise ending to the film-franchise conclusion of The Twilight Saga. Directed by Bill Condon, Part 2 begins with Kristen Stewart in hyper-sneery mode as a newborn vampire and mother to fast-growing half-human daughter. The spawn of Bella and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) threatens to spark a war among the vampires. The Volturi ruling class wrongly assumes that Bella and Edward have transformed the kid into a vampire, something that is expressly forbidden, and gather forces to take down the entire Cullen clan. Meanwhile, Bella's bare-chested werewolf pal Jacob (Taylor Lautner) bonds with the girl and seeks to protect her from the rest of his Wolf Pack clan. This is being released in the U.S. this week, so there's not yet any critical consensus. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Arjun: The Warrior Prince – This animated feature, adapted from the Indian epic the Mahabharata, is co-produced by Disney and tells the story of the young hero archer as he overcomes his various shortcomings and learns what it takes to be a man. Critical reception is generally positive. It's at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit and Rama III. Rated 13+.

Une jeunesse amoureuse – The Alliance Française Bangkok's month of documentaries continues with this offering from director François Caillat who depicts his early love life in the Paris of the 1970s – an intimate coming-of-age story along with the adventure of a generation of 20-year-olds discovering American counter-culture. It's at the Alliance Française at 7.30pm on Wednesday, November 21.

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