Monday, June 30, 2014

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: House 10-Year Anniversary, July 3-30, 2014

Dogged by an inconvenient location and periodic rumors of its demise, House, the twin-screen "boutique" cinema on Royal City Avenue, has nonetheless survived and attracted a cult following with its eclectic selection of award-winning foreign dramas, erotica, documentaries, animation and Thai independent films.

Celebrating 10 years this month, House has a series of special screenings. Many of the films were big hits at House in past years and will show under the "House Phenomenon" banner. Also, several of the screenings are free. Here's the line-up via Facebook:

  • July 3: The Rover – Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce are earning rave reviews for this gritty Australian crime drama. It'll get a sneak preview before a general release later this month. Free.
  • July 4: Surprise film. Free.
  • July 5: Surprise film from the Japan Foundation. Free.
  • July 6: Two films courtesy of the Alliance Française, the Jacques Tati classic Playtime and the Oscar-nominated animated feature The Illusionist by Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), which is based on an unproduced screenplay by Tati. Free.
  • July 7: Surprise film. Free.
  • July 8: Mary and Max – This darkly comic clay-animated feature is about an Australian teen girl who becomes a penpal with a lonely middle-aged man in New York. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette star.
  • July 9: Mother – Vorakorn Ruetaivanichkul directs this hybrid documentary drama about the mental breakdown of his mother. This is another sneak preview ahead of a planned general release.
  • July 10: The Fault in Our Stars – Shailene Woodley stars in this coming-of-age drama as a teenage cancer patient who is sent to a support group. This a sneak preview ahead of the planned July 24 release. Free.
  • July 11: Last Life in the Universe – Pen-ek Ratanruang's 2003 quirky comedy-drama had a suicidal Japanese fugitive (Tadanobo Asano) pairing up with a lonely Thai woman (Sinitta Boonyasak). Featuring cinematography by Christopher Doyle, it's not just one of Pen-ek's best but one of the best films ever. Free.
  • July 12: Mosquito Film Project – This is a line-up of offerings from Mosquito Films Distribution, a new outfit formed by several well-known Thai independent filmmakers, including Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Aditya Assarat, Pimpaka Towira and Anocha Suwichakornpong.
  • July 13: A pair of documentaries from the Alliance Française – Nostalgia for the Light, which examines relatives of of Chileans who "disappeared" during the Pinochet regime, and All Is Forgiven, about a daughter coming to terms with her father's drug addiction. Free.
  • July 14: Surprise film. Free.
  • July 15: A Separation – This Oscar-winning Iranian family legal drama was a big hit when it screened at House a couple years ago.
  • July 16: City of God – Brazilian youngsters look for a way out of the slums in this gripping crime drama.
  • July 17: The Grand Budapest Hotel – For reasons beyond my comprehension, Wes Anderson's much-anticipated new film isn't getting a theatrical release in Thailand. It's going straight to DVD, which is so damn disappointing. So, sadly, this will likely be the only chance for Bangkok cinema-goers to see it on the big screen. Free.
  • July 18: Lust, Caution – Rated 20- for its explicit sex scenes, Ang Lee's Chinese spy thriller, set in World War II Shanghai, got pulses racing when it screened for several weeks at House in 2007. Free.
  • July 19: Surprise film from the Japan Foundation. Free admission.
  • July 20: Food Festival – The program includes the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi and a talk by twin-sister filmmakers Wanweaw and Weawwan Hongvivatana.
  • July 21: Tokyo Sonata – Kiyoshi Kurosawa's drama looks at a dysfunctional family of four in Tokyo.
  • July 22: Blue is the Warmest Color – Another "House phenomenon" movie, this sexually explicit French romance follows a young woman's exploration of her sexuality.
  • July 23: The Song of Sparrows – This 2008 Iranian drama follows a young man who loses his job at an ostrich farm and then heads to Teheran to find another job.
  • July 24: Boyhood – Twelve years in the making, Richard Linklater looks at one kid's life has he grows into a teenager. This is termed a "sneak preview" though the general theatrical release isn't yet scheduled. Free.
  • July 25: Surprise film. Free.
  • July 26: Ter Day – Phenomenal young director Nawapol "Ter" Thamrongrattanarit ran a viral social-networking campaign to pack House for screenings of his two indie films, 36 and Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy. They'll both get encore screenings.
  • July 27: Two classic more French films from the Alliance Française – To Our Loves by Maurice Pialat and La Cérémonie by Claude Chabrol. Free.
  • July 28: Surprise film. Free admission.
  • July 29: Once – This musical romance about street musicians in Dublin was a surprise sleeper hit.
  • July 30: Love of Siam – This 2007 epic gay teen romance become even more epic when House released the three-hour director's cut by Chookiat Sakveerakul and had fans lined up out the door.

For details about showtimes and subtitles, check House's Facebook page.

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