Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 30, 2010-January 5, 2011

The Tourist

Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie headline the cast of this popcorn-pleasing international comedy-thriller.

Depp is a lone American traveler in Europe who finds himself attracted to a mysterious woman, played by Jolie. She draws him into a series of increasingly dangerous and hair-raising adventures.

Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton and Rufus Sewell also star.

It's directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, maker of the Oscar-winning film about surveillance of citizens in communist East Germany, The Lives of Others. The Tourist marks his Hollywood debut.

The movie has scored three Golden Globe nominations in the best comedy/musical category, including best actor and actress for Depp and Jolie.

Critical reception is negative, with the consensus being that "the scenery and the stars are undeniably beautiful, but they can't make up for [the] slow, muddled plot, or the lack of chemistry between Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie." Rated 13+.

Also opening

Yogi Bear – This is a live-action/computer-animated update to the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series that dates back to the late 1950s. Dan Aykroyd voices Yogi, a mischievous "smarter than the average bear" who thrives on coming up with inventive new ways to steal "pic-a-nic" baskets from visitors to Jellystone Park. His best pal Boo Boo is voiced by Justin Timberlake. Their adventure this time around involves nefarious forces who are trying to sell Jellystone Park to loggers, forcing Yogi and his nemesis Ranger Smith to combine forces to save the park. Critical reception is overwhelmingly negative, but the kids and their parents who were raised watching Yogi on Saturday mornings and after school likely won't care. Rated G.

The Incite Mill – Ten people are hired for the same lucrative temporary "job" and find themselves locked in an underground complex and forced to play a murder game for seven days. Hideo Nakata (Ring, Dark Water) directs. Critical reception is mixed. Japanese soundtrack with English and Thai subtitles at the Lido, Paragon and SFW CentralWorld. Rated 13+.

Sudkate Salateped (สุดเขต สเลดเป็ด ) – In what's become a New Year's tradition for new studio MThirtynine, Rerkchai Puangpetch (Noodle Boxer, 32 December Love Error) unwraps another New Year's treat for Thai moviegoers with Sudkate Salet Ped. Actor-musician "Pe" Arak Amornsupasiri portrays a young guy trying to get a break as a recording artist. "Yipso" Ramita Mahapruekpong, the glasses girl from the travel romance That Sounds Good, also stars. Comedic support is provided by the ubiquitous funnypeople Charoenporn “Kotee Aramboy” Onlamai and "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom. Rated 13+.

Saranair Hen Phee (สาระแนเห็นผี ) – The comedy crew from the Saranair TV series are back for more ghostly laughs. Mario Maurer stars with Pongpit “Starbucks” Preechaborisutkul, the young actor who got his break in the first Saranair movie, 2009's Saranair Hao Peng. They're a couple of guys who run afoul of a mobster while hanging out in a bar. Actress "Aum" Patcharapa Chaichua plays a drunken coyote dancer who helps them out. Saranair cast "Ple" Nakorn is also featured. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Eternity (Chua Fah Din Salai, ชั่วฟ้าดินสลาย) – The lush-period potboiler is even more epic in a director's cut by ML Bhandevanob Devakula. Running for 3 hours and 10 minutes – an hour longer than September's original theatrical release – the characters are literally and figuratively more fleshed out with lots more skin and sex. The story is adapted from a 1943 novella by Malai Choopinit. Set set sometime in 1930s Siam, it deals with a love triangle that develops between a Burmese timber baron, his attractive younger wife and the man's handsome young nephew. Among the iconic images from the story is that of the cheating lovers chained together for eternity. Ananda Everingham and "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak star as the lovers in this sizzling new adaptation. Theerawong Liawrakwong portrays the uncle. Chua Fah Din Salai: Director's Cut runs until January 5 at House on RCA, showing in digital HD with English subtitles. Rated 18+.

Le silence de Lorna (Lorna's Silence) – Belgian brothers Jeanne-Pierre and Luc Dardenne direct this 2008 drama, which won the best screenplay award at the Cannes Film Festival. Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) is a young Albanian woman caught up in the marriage-for-sale racket. She's wed to a drug addict in a deal brokered by a low-life named Fabio. Their aim is the kill off the junkie Claudy so Lorna can marry a Russian guy and then eventually be free of the racket so she can settle down with her true love and open cafe. But Lorna's growing sympathy for Claudy might derail those plans. With English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, January 5 at the Alliance Française.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Japanese Film Festival 2011 – Akira Kurosawa Centennial Retrospective

All year long, the Japan Foundation Bangkok offers free screenings of classic and contemporary films at its center on Soi Asoke, but the movies are generally only subtitled in Thai.

However, once a year, the Japan Foundation offers a gift to Bangkok's movie-going expat community with its annual Japanese Film Festival.

This year's festival, running from January 6 to 19, 2011, at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, is really special, with the Akira Kurosawa Centennial Retrospective, featuring 25 movies by the master, who was born on March 23, 1910. All titles will be lovingly presented on 35mm film! All will have English subtitles. And they are free!

The deal is, you have to get in line for the tickets, and the line forms 30 minutes before each screening. The festival is always very popular, and I expect this year's edition to be especially well-attended, so be on time and be prepared.

The schedule includes such internationally known classics as Seven Samurai (1954), Rashomon (1950), Yojimbo (1961) and The Hidden Fortress (1958) – epics that ought to be seen on the big screen to be fully appreciated. There's also early works like the Judo Saga (1943), The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (1945), No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), Drunken Angel (1948) and Stray Dog (1949).

Here's the full program:

Thursday, January 6

  • 8pm: Rashomon (88 min) – This 1950 drama brought Kurosawa and Japanese cinema to the international stage, having been screened at the Venice Film Festival and winning the Golden Lion. Set during feudal times, the classic story is about the rape of a woman and the murder of her samurai husband, as recounted by differing and contradictory viewpoints. Two of Kurosawa's regular actors star, Takashi Shimura as the woodcutter and Toshiro Mifune as the bandit.

Friday, January 7

  • 7pm: The Quiet Duel (95 min) – Toshiro Mifune stars in this 1949 drama as an idealistic young doctor working in a seedy clinic who's contracted syphilis by accident. He'll keep his illness a secret, at great sacrifice. Takashi Shimura portrays the doctor's physician father.

Saturday, January 8

  • 11am: Sanshiro Sugata (81 min) – Part one of the Judo Saga, Kurosawa's 1943 debut film is the story of an impatient young man (Susumu Fujita) who comes to the city to learn martial arts. He stumbles upon judo, becomes determined to learn its nuances and in doing so, discovers a deeper meaning in his life.
  • 1.20pm: The Most Beautiful (85 min) – This 1944 propaganda film is set in an optics factory depicts workers as they drive to meet and exceed production targets and help the Japanese Empire become victorious.
  • 3:40pm: Sanshiro Sugata II (82 min) – Filmed in 1945 toward the end of World War II, part two of the Judo Saga finds Sugata as a judo master who demonstrates his superiority.
  • 6pm: The Idiot (166 min) – This 1951 adaptation of the Fyodor Dostoevsky notel is set in Kokkaido, where a former insane-asylum inmate (Masayuki Mori) becomes involved with a woman (Setsuko Hara) who is the object of affection for another man (Toshiro Mifune). Jealousy will lead to tragedy.

Sunday, January 9

  • 11am: No Regrets for Our Youth (110 min) – Academia is the initial setting for this fact-based 1946 drama. A professor is relieved of his position because of his radical anti-fascist views. Meanwhile, the professor's daughter is courted by two of her father's students, one a straitlaced guy and the other a rebel. The daughter is of course more attracted to the rebel.
  • 1:40pm: One Wonderful Sunday (108 min) – The hardships of living in post-war Japan are depicted in this 1947 drama about a group of friends who have just 35 yen between them. They are determined to have a good time and to make it last.
  • 4:20pm: Drunken Angel (98 min) – This 1948 crime drama marks the first of a long line of collaborations between Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune who stars as a small-time hood. He's treated by an alcoholic doctor (Takashi Shimura) and found to have TB. The doc advises him to clean up his life, but the life of this gangster will never be easy.
  • 7pm: Scandal (104 min) – An artist (Toshiro Mifune) goes to court to fight against a tabloid magazine that took a photo of him with a famous singer (Shirley Yamaguchi) and spun a scandalous false story. Takashi Shimura also stars in this 1950 drama as a down-and-out lawyer with problems of his own.

Monday, January 10

  • 7pm: Stray Dog (122 min) – Another showcase for the talents Mifune and Shimura, this 1949 drama is about a brash rookie police detective (Mifune) who loses his department-issued Colt pistol to a pickpocket. With the help of a wise, yoda-like senior detective (Shimura), he methodically works to retrieve the lost firearm.

Tuesday, January 11

  • 7pm: The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail (59 min) – This 1945 drama is set during Japan's feudal period, in which a fugitive lord and his bodyguards and followers, all disguised as monks, traverse a forest in trying to avoid capture by the border guards.

Wednesday, January 12

  • 7pm: Ikiru (143 min) – A tour de force performance from Takashi Shimura in this 1952 drama, hailed as one of history's greatest films. He plays a lonely widowed veteran bureaucrat who finds out he has stomach cancer and a year to live. He then sets about to find meaning in his life.

Thursday, January 13

  • 7pm: Seven Samurai (207 min) – The epic of epics, this adventure tale, set during Japan's Warring States period, is about a remote farming village under siege by bandits. Weary of having their crops stolen, the villagers decide to hire samurai to protect them. They find a cool-under-fire tactician (Takashi Shimura) who then assembles a band of five other skilled warriors. Toshiro Mifune also stars, playing the comic-relief drifter who insinuates himself into the group, making them seven. The movie was most famously remade as the Hollywood western, The Magnificent Seven.

Friday, January 14

  • 7pm: I Live In Fear (113 min) – Reflecting post-war Japan's nuclear fears, Toshiro Mifune stars in this 1955 drama as a foundry owner who is so frightened and obsessed with the idea of nuclear extermination that his family decides to have him ruled incompetent. Takashi Shimura co-stars as a domestic court counselor who sympathizes with the old man.

Saturday, January 15

  • 11am: Throne of Blood (110 min) – From 1956, Kurosawa adapts Shakespeare's MacBeth in this tale of a ruthless lord (Toshiro Mifune) who is egged on by his wife (Isuzu Yamada) to fulfill a prophecy that he will become emperor.
  • 1:40pm: The Lower Depths (125 min) – Another adaptation, this one on a play by Russian writer Maxim Gorky, about a group of poor folks talking about their problems. It's set during the mid-19th century Edo Period, in a flophouse shared by around a dozen or so folks. Nearly a dozen of them are sharing a crowded barn, or bunkhouse of some sort. There's a fallen samurai, a tinker caring for his dying wife, an elderly alcholic actor, a gambler, a prostitute and a thief.
  • 4:30pm: The Hidden Fortress (139 min) – This epic 1958 adventure tale loosely inspired Star Wars. The story is seen through the eyes of a bumbling pair of peasants who are promised gold to lead a feisty young princess (Misa Uehara) and her general (Toshiro Mifune) through enemy lines to her home territory.
  • 6:30pm: Director talk (tentative)

Sunday, January 16

  • 11am: The Bad Sleep Well (151 min) – This 1960 drama is loosely based on Hamlet and is also a commentary on a corporate corruption in post-war Japan. A young man (Toshiro Mifune) attempts to use his position at the heart of a corrupt company to expose the men responsible for his father's death. Takashi Shimura also stars, playing a top corporate man who is persuaded to join Mifune's cause.
  • 2:20pm: Yojimbo (110 min) – It's back to the samurai era for this dark action comedy starring Toshiro Mifune as a ronin drifter who finds himself between warring factions in a remote village. This 1961 film has been remade several times, most famously as A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone, with Clint Eastwood in one of his signature roles as the Man With No Name.
  • 5pm: Sanjuro (96 min) – This 1962 sequel to Yojimbo gives Mifune's character a name. He takes nine young samurai under his wing in a plot to expose corruption in the leadership of their clan.
  • 7:30pm: Madadayo (134 min) – From 1993, this is Kurosawa's 30th and final film. It's a light comedy-drama and is based on the life of academic and author Hyakken Uchida, and centers on his relationship with his former students, who care for him in his old age.

Monday, January 17

  • 7pm: High and Low (143 min) – Kurosawa gets into film noir territory in this 1963 hostage drama. Toshiro Mifune stars as the embattled executive of a shoe company who becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Tuesday, January 18

  • 7pm: Red Beard (185 min) – This 1965 drama marks the final collaboration between Kurosawa and his leading man Toshiro Mifune, who had acted in 16 of Kurosawa's movies. He plays a hard-bitten veteran doctor at a charity hospital who takes a young intern under his guidance through the course of various difficult cases.

Wednesday, January 19

  • 7pm Dodes'ka-den (140 min) – This 1970 drama is about the various residents of a garbage dump. It's Kurosawa's first color film, and his first without the usual stock company of actors he'd used in his previous films.

You can also check the Japan Foundation website for more details on the film festival.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 23-29, 2010

Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity): Director's Cut

The lush-period potboiler Eternity (Chua Fah Din Salai, ชั่วฟ้าดินสลาย), is even more epic in a director's cut by ML Bhandevanob Devakula.

The director who's also known as Mom Noi has added one hour to the theatrical version that was released in Thai cinemas back in September, and was a summer sleeper hit, gradually gaining momentum at the box office as word of mouth spread.

The director's cut, which will screen for two weeks at House cinema, is said to be a more accurate presentation of Mom Noi's screenplay and will explain more about the motivation of the three characters.

After the Bangkok run, Mom Noi will submit his uncut version to film festivals.

Adapted from a 1943 novella by Malai Choopinit, Chua Fah Din Salai is about a love triangle that develops between a Burmese timber baron, his attractive younger wife and the man's handsome young nephew. Among the iconic images from the story is that of the cheating lovers chained together for eternity. Previous film adaptations include the 1955 version directed by Tawee "Khru Marut" na Bangchang and filmed by Ratana Pestonji.

Ananda Everingham and "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak star as the lovers in this sizzling new adaptation. Theerawong Liawrakwong portrays the uncle.

Chua Fah Din Salai: Director's Cut runs until January 5 at House on RCA, showing in digital HD with English subtitles. Rated 18+.

Also opening

Tron: Legacy – Haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father 25 years before, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) tracks down his dad's last known whereabouts – a long-shuttered video-game arcade. Behind a secret door is an old computer, still running. Sam reissues the last command and he's transported to the Grid, the virtual gaming world that his father created. Dad's still there, and so is his alter-ego gone-bad, Clu. Jeff Bridges, 61, reprises his role from Disney's original Tron in 1982, playing the naturally aged Kevin Flynn and through a digitized de-aging process as the still-young evil Clu2. Olivia Wilde, Beau Garrett and Michael Sheen also star. Critical reception is mixed, with the consensus that the humanity and the story get lost amidst the state-of-the-art special-effects dazzle. In 3D at some cinemas, including Imax. Rated 15+.

Hanamizuki – Two determined students meet and fall in love, but their divergent paths mean it will be a long-distance relationship, and it doesn’t last. But that’s not the whole story in this romantic drama that was a hit in Japan back in August. Yui Aragaki and Toma Ikuta star. At House and the Lido. Rated G.

Tees Maar Khan – Akshay Kumar is a slick international conman in this action-comedy co-starring Katrina Kaif and directed by Farah Khan. In Hindi with English subtitles at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit tonight and tomorrow at 8 and on Sunday at 7.30 and at Major Cineplex Rama III Saturday at 8 and on Sunday at 4. Call (089) 488 2620 or visit

Also showing

Movies on the Beach – Thai films are being screened in the classic nang klang plang (open-air) style nightly until Sunday at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok Hotel on Charoenkrung Road.

Filmmaker Pantham Thongsang curates the program, mixing classics with contemporary Thai movies. In keeping with the nang klang plang tradition, some of the films are dubbed live by a team of voiceover artists, who perform all the roles and handle the sound effects as well, mimicking gunfire with blows to the microphone and having swordfights with the forks and spoons they used for their dinner. They are often more entertaining to watch than what's showing on the screen.

Here's what's on tap from tonight:

  • Thursday: Monrak Luk Thung (Magical Love in the Countryside) – This smash-hit musical stars Mitr Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowarat. It played in cinemas for six months in 1970.
  • Friday: Insee Tong (Golden Eagle) and Insee Dang (The Red Eagle) – This double feature bookends the final film in the long-running action series that starred Mitr Chaibancha as a masked vigilante crimefighter. He died on October 8, 1970, in a fall from a helicopter that is featured as the final stunt in Insee Tong. Then there's The Red Eagle, the action-packed reboot of the franchise by director Wisit Sasanatieng and starring Ananda Everingham, who brings a fierce and unforgiving interpretation to the role of Thailand's Dark Knight.
  • Saturday: Christmas night will offer spirituality and laughs in the Buddhist monk movies Luang Ta 3: Seeka Khang Wat from 1991 and 2005's smash-hit comedy Luang Phee Theng (The Holy Man).
  • Sunday: Khang Lang Phab (Behind the Painting) – This 2001 romantic drama is the final film by the late director Cherd Songsri. "Ken" Theeradej Wongpuapan and Cara Pholasit star.

The showtime is sometime shortly after dusk. The hotel is easily reachable by a shuttle boat running every half hour to Saphan Taksin pier. Tickets are Bt350 for one screening and Bt450 for the double features, and the price includes a choice of drink and some food from the menu. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Thai Film Foundation. Call (02) 688 1000.

Naissance des pieuvres (Water Lilies) – The debut film by Céline Sciamma, this sexually charged 2007 teenage romantic drama is set at a swimming pool that's home to a girls' synchro-swim team. Adele Haenel is Floriane, the team's star. Her biggest admirer is the moody, plain Marie (Pauline Acquart), who's always hanging around watching Floriane. A love quadrangle is formed by Marie's best friend Anne (Louise Blachère), who has a hopeless crush on male swimmer François (Warren Jacquin) – Floriane's secret lover. It was nominated for three César Awards – best first film for Sciamma and most promising actress nods for Haenel and Blachère. It's showing with English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, December 29 at the Alliance Française.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 16-22, 2010

B.K.O.: Bangkok Knockout

With B.K.O.: Bangkok Knockout (โคตรสู้ โคตรโส, Koht Soo Koht Soh), veteran stunt guru Panna Rittikrai, the mentor of Tony Jaa, is seeking to outdo all the insanely dangerous-looking action he displayed in his 2004 directorial effort Born to Fight.

Among the notable setpieces in B.K.O. is a truck stunt that Panna has said is way more complicated than the truck stunt from Born to Fight, which was painstakingly rehearsed only to have a stuntman almost have his head crushed under a truck's wheel in the final take!

Bangkok Knockout is the story of a college "fight club" whose members are together for a reunion when one of their number is kidnapped. So they have to combine all their mad skilz – Muay Thai, kung fu, capoeira and other forms of badassery – to rescue their friend.

The cast of fighters are mainly guys who've been playing stunt doubles in movies choreographed by Panna and his crew at Prachya Pinkaew's Baa-Ram-Ewe studio. But among the names fans might recognize is Kazu Patrick Tang, the French-Vietnamese martial artist who co-starred with Jija Yanin in Raging Phoenix. Other marquee draws for Thai fans include comedian Kiatisak "Sena Hoi" Udomnak, actress "Kratae" Supaksorn Chiamongkol and veteran action star Sorapong Chatree.

In addition to the English-language trailer, there's also a Thai trailer. Rated 15+.

Also opening

Easy A – Emma Stone stars in this teen comedy, playing a brainy high schooler who fibs about losing her virginity. Soon the news is spread all over school, but instead of being ashamed, the girl embraces it, reveling in her newfound popularity and dressing provocatively. It's a mix of The Scarlet Letter and the John Hughes' teen comedies of the 1980s. Critical reception is mostly positive. At Paragon.

Yes or No, Yak Rak Kor Rak Loei (Yes or No อยากรัก ก็รักเลย) – A college girl named Pie (Sucharat Manaying) at first mistakes her new roommate for a guy and has a hissy fit. She calms down a bit when she realizes the tomboy with the Korean boyband haircut is a girl named Kim (Supanat Jittaleela). They still have their differences, dividing their room in half with a line that shall not be crossed. But they eventually become friends. And perhaps it will be more than friendship? There's a trailer at YouTube. Rated 15+.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 the Movie: Awakening of the Trailblazer (Gekijouban Kidou senshi Gandamu 00) – The mobile-suit warriors of this popular anime series face a new threat – extraterrestrial living-metal shapeshifters. There's a review at In Japanese with Thai subtitles only at the Lido.

Saw VII – The seventh in the series of "torture porn" movies makes a surprise opening at the Lido this week. The Saw movies have been frowned on by Thailand's censors, and the culture watchdogs banned the previous Saw release. Saw 7 is primarily known as Saw 3D, but since the Lido doesn't yet have 3D equipment, the 2D version is showing. Critics also generally dislike the movie. Rated 20+.

Also showing

Movies at the Beach – Thai films will be screened in the classic nang klang plang (open-air) style nightly – including live dubbing – until December 26 at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok Hotel on Charoenkrung Road.

Filmmaker Pantham Thongsang curates the program, mixing classics with contemporary Thai movies.

The program starts on Friday with a double bill of Khoo Kam, a classic tale of star-crossed lovers during World War II. Many versions of this story have been filmed, and they'll show two of the best remembered – the 1973 version starring Nat Phoowanai and Duangnapha Attapornwisan and 1996's with Thongchai "Bird" McIntyre in the role of a Japanese officer and Apasiri Nitibhon as the Thai woman he's in love with.

Saturday's show will have dueling historical dramas, starting with 1966's Suek Bang Rajan, starring Sombat Metanee in a performance that won him a Tukata Tong (Golden Doll) award, which was handed to him personally by His Majesty the King. Phitsamai Wilaisak also stars. It's in a double-feature bill with Thanit Jitnukul’s blood-soaked battle epic Bang Rajan, which became an international cult hit after its release in 2000.

Sunday will feature the martial-arts exploits of legendary actor Mitr Chaibancha and his leading lady Petchara Chaowarat in the high-flying Hong Kong wire-fu swordfighting fantasy Atsawin Daap Gaaiyasit (อัศวินดาบกายสิทธิ์). According to Thai Worldview, another actor named Chat Chayaphum from Chayaphum province was brought in to complete the film after Mitr died.

During the week, there will be the films by Pantham and Somkiet Vituranich: the talking-dog drama Ma Mha (Mid-Road Gang) on Monday, and 2004's social drama Ai Fak (The Judgement) on Tuesday.

Nonzee Nimibutr's 1997 debut feature Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters about teenage hoodlums in the 1950s (screenplay by Wisit Sasanatieng) shows on Wednesday.

And there's the smash-hit 1970 musical Monrak Luk Thung (Magical Love in the Countryside), starring Mitr Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowarat.

Christmas Eve has more Mitr action in 1970's Insee Tong (Golden Eagle), which features the fateful helicopter stunt that killed Mitr on October 8, 1970. It'll be in a double bill with this year's Insee Dang (The Red Eagle), an action-packed reboot of Mitr's long-running franchise by director Wisit Sasanatieng, featuring Ananda Everingham in the lead role of the masked vigilante crimefighter.

Christmas night will offer spirituality and laughs in the Buddhist monk movies Luang Ta 3: Seeka Khang Wat from 1991 and Luang Phee Theng (The Holy Man).

The program closes with the 2001 romantic drama Khang Lang Phab (Behind the Painting), the final film by the late director Cherd Songsri, starring "Ken" Theeradej Wongpuapan and Cara Pholasit.

Tickets are Bt350 for one screening and Bt450 for two movies on Friday and Saturday. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Thai Film Foundation. Call (02) 688 1000.

Clip Kino – The Reading Room, in collaboration with Clip Kino and Thai Netizen Network, present a self-organized screening event in which each participant brings video clips they've found online with them to share and discuss. There will be a panel discussion topics related to online media – accessibility and distribution, the question of public/private nature of these media, censorship/self-censorship, etc. The event also includes curated clip programs (10-15 minutes each) on subjects relevant to the contemporary social and cultural context in Thailand. The schedule is as follows:

  • 4-5:30pm – Panel Discussion: Condition and Freedom of Online Media in Thailand w5th Prab Boonpan (Matichon Online), Mana Treerayapiwat (Communication Arts, University of Thai Chamber of Commerce) and Wanrak Suwanwattana (Liberal Arts, Thammasat University).
  • 6-7pm – Screening of short curated clip programs
  • 7-8pm – Participants share their selected online clips and discuss issues related to them.

The program is at the Reading Room at 2 Silom Soi 19.

À nos amours (To Our Loves) – Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a 16-year-old Parisian who embarks on a sexual rampage in an effort to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father (played by the director, Maurice Pialat, himself), ineffectual mother and brutish brother. It's a tender character study that can erupt in startling violence. It's showing with English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, December 22 at the at the Alliance Française.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 9-15, 2010


A cult hit that's attracting acclaim like last year's thematically similar District 9, director Gareth Edwards' low-budget indie sci-fi thriller Monsters takes place six years after a NASA probe carrying alien biological samples crashed upon re-entry over Central America.

Giant alien life forms have taken over the jungles, and in an effort to contain the aliens, half of Mexico has been quarantined as an "infected zone" and the American and Mexican militaries are mobilized to repel them.

Into this situation ventures a photojournalist (Scoot McNairy), who's tasked by his wealthy employer with rescuing his daughter (Whitney Able), and escorting her through the infected zone.

Monsters has been nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Achievement in Production.

Critical reception is mostly positive, with the consensus that though "it doesn't quite live up to its intriguing premise ... [it's] a surprising blend of alien-invasion tropes, political themes and relationship drama."

It's playing at House, Paragon and SFW CentralWorld. Rated 15+.

Also opening

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and their annoying cousin Eustace Scrubb are whisked away to the fantasy land of Narnia for this third adaptation of the C.S. Lewis book series. This time they are sucked into a painting of a sailing ship, and they join King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the crew of the Dawn Treader on a voyage to find seven lords who were banished by Caspian's evil uncle. Simon Pegg is featured as the voice Reepicheep, the swashbuckling mouse. Tilda Swinton makes a cameo as Jadis. Michael Apted directs, taking over from Andrew Adamson, who helmed the first two Narnia movies. With the movie just coming out worldwide this week, critical consensus so far is mixed. Rated G.

Takers – This heist drama is basically Heat reheated with a younger cast – Matt Dillon in the Al Pacino role of a determined cop and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire) in the Robert DeNiro role as the leader of a group of high-stakes thieves and Paul Walker playing Val Kilmer's right-hand man. They're joined by Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy and Chris Brown. They are put onto a armored-car hold-up by a former member of the gang (rapper T.I), who's out of prison and looking for payback. Zoe Saldana also stars as the ex-con's former girlfriend who's since taken up with another member of the gang. I actually saw this in Singapore a few months back, and it's okay even if its highly derivative. Critical reception is mostly negative. Rated 15+.

Bruce Lee, My Brother – This biographical drama covers the martial-arts legend's early years in Hong Kong, when he was a It's a down-to-earth portrait, covering Bruce Lee's life as a rebellious adolescent and street fighter. A portrait of the movie star as a son, student, brother and loyal friend, it's seen through the eyes of Robert Lee, who produced this biopic. Aarif Lee plays Bruce, with Tony Leung Ka-fai and Christy Chung also starring. Raymond Yip directs. Critical reception so far is mixed, with highly favorable review at Singapore's Nutshell Reviews. At the Lido and House.

Lunla Man (Phoochai Lunla Soot 3G Sa Sa Ha Kik, ผู้ชายลัลล้า สูตร 3G ซ่าส์ ซ่าส์หากิ๊ก) – Three actors from the "Pentor” sitcom – Shahkrit Yamnarm, Jeab Chernyim and Kitti Chiawongkul – portray three philandering married guys whose wives team up to teach them a lesson. Tanya “Ped Chernyim” Phovijit directs. There's a trailer at YouTube. Rated 15+.

Also showing

Strange Birds in Paradise – Move Media Communications in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day, will launch the DVD of the Move Media Rights Festival. Parinya Boonridrerthaikul, director of Amnesty International (Thailand), will inaugurate the DVD, which will be followed by a screening of Strange Birds in Paradise, a documentary about political resistance in West Papua, Indonesia, by Charlie Hill-Smith. There will a post-screening panel discussion with Phil Robertson, deputy director, Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, and Wensislaus Fatubun, a West Papuan human rights activist. Refreshments will feature West Papuan cuisine. Admission is free. The show time is at 7 tonight (Thursday, December 9) at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Insects in the Backyard – Veteran indie filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit directs and stars in this family drama, portraying a transvestite father of a teenage daughter and son. The movie has strong depictions of sexual acts as the two youngsters address their confused sexuality and rebel against their cross-dressing dad by entering the prostitution trade. The controversial drama premiered in the Dragons and Tigers competition at the Vancouver International Film Festival and also screened at the recent World Film Festival of Bangkok. However, attempts to get a local commercial screening for Insects in the Backyard have been met with bureaucratic resistance, with Culture Ministry authorities saying it is "contrary to morality". The banning of Insects has reignited the debate about Thailand's film laws, which are vague, confusing and often contradictory. The film will be screened on Friday – Constitution Day – at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, followed by panel discussions with filmmakers, film experts, media activists like Supinya Klangnarong and authorities. Registration is at 12.30, with the screening at 1. Panel discussions in Thai will take place during the rest of the afternoon. You must pre-register for this event by e-mailing thaishortfilmfestival [at] gmail [dot] com. Also no one under 18 years of age will be admitted, and IDs will be checked.

Les bureaux de Dieu (God's Offices) – Claire Simon directs this 2007 comedy drama starring Nathalie Baye, Nicole Garcia and Isabelle Carré about workers and clients at a family planning center. It's showing with English subtitles at 7.30 on Wednesday, December 15 at the at the Alliance Française.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening December 2-8, 2010

The Social Network

Already being tipped as one of the year's best movies, with pundits predicting Oscar nominations, with The Social Network director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have crafted a breezy but brutal look at the start-up of Facebook and its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who became the youngest billionaire in history at the cost of alienating his friends and would-be business partners and having his reputation dragged through the mud.

Adapted from The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich, the movie features the rapid-fire dialog that's a trademark of Sorkin and his TV drama The West Wing. So much needs to be said, that everyone has to speak 10,000 words a minute. English subtitles on the Thai theatrical release would be helpful.

None of the characters in this movie are particular;y likable. As portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, Zuckerberg is a cold-hearted, selfish SOB – quite the opposite of the sunny portrait that is his profile pic on Facebook.

"You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a nerd," Erica Albright, the girl who inspired Zuckerberg's fit of drunken website coding, tells him. "And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole."

Andrew Garfield, who'll be starring in the Spider-Man reboot, plays Facebook's founding CFO Eduardo Saverin, who garners the most sympathy as Zuckerberg takes his money and runs the website how he sees fit.

Justin Timberlake, as Napster founder and web entrepreneur Sean Parker, is another reprehensible character. And even he gets dumped on, as do the athletically and socially privileged Winklevoss twins (both played in typical Fincher sleight-of-hand technique by one actor, Armie Hammer.)

Critical reception is mostly positive. Rated 13+.

Also opening

Cool Gel Attacks (Kradueb, กระดึ๊บ) – Loosely based on a story a few years ago of strange blue debris that fell from the sky, comedian-director Jaturong "Mokjok" Ornnorm comes up with this sci-fi/horror comedy about nasty alien slugs attacking a rural village. Feuding neighbors Jaturong and Jim Chuanchuen have to team up to survive. Nuttapong Chatpong and Patarasaya Kreusuwansiri also star. Rated G.

Kapi Ling Jor Mai Lork Jao (กะปิ ลิงจ๋อไม่หลอกจ้าว ) – The tradition of coconut growers and their trained monkey coconut pickers is mined for comedy in this family friendly comedy. Tong (Richard Ghaini) lives with his uncle (Thep Pho-ngam) and mischievous pet monkey on an idyllic coconut plantation by the sea. They put up a fight against a rich developer who wants to build wind turbines. Nitivat Cholvanichsir directs. And as if a cheeky macaque and a kid aren't enough laughs, Mum Jokmok, Kom Chuanchuen and "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom supply more comic relief. Rated G.

Yamada the Samurai of Ayothaya (ซามูไรอโยธยา) – This bare-chested fact-based action drama takes place during the early 15th century in Siam, when a samurai warrior named Yamada Nagamasa acquitted himself well in his service to the King and became a part of the Ayutthaya court. He was eventually given a lordship and appointed governor of a territory that today is Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand. Thailand-based Japanese actor Seki Oseki is in the lead role, with Kanokkorn Jaicheun and Sorapong Chatree among the cast. Nopporn Watin directs. Rated G.

The Next Three Days – Paul Haggis (Crash) directs this thriller starring Russell Crowe as a husband who'll stop at nothing to free his wife (Elizabeth Banks) after she's accused of murder. Liam Neeson also stars, playing a twisted sort-of Jedi master to Crowe's character, offering advice on how to plan the big jail break. Critical reception is mixed. At Apex Siam Square.

Also showing

Film Festival in Commemoration of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King's 83rd Birthday Anniversary – Short films and features are showing for free at SF World CentralWorld until Friday in this festival organized by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture of the Culture Ministry.

Four of the shorts are screening under the title of Hearth Weaving for Our King. Three of them are by recent honorees of the OCAC's Silpathorn Award for contemporary art, Nonzee Nimibutr, Pimpaka Towira and Aditya Assarat. The shorts are:

  • Six to Six, (เพลงชาติไทย, Pleng Chat Thai) by Aditya Assarat – Workers at an apartment building clean their master's top-floor room and idle about until 6pm and the National Anthem, thus marking the passage of another day in the Kingdom.
  • Terribly Happy (สุดสะแนน, Sudsanan), directed by Pimpaka Towira – A soldier on leave from duty in the Deep South returns to Udon Thani to find his girlfriend has taken up with a Westerner. Can the soldier learn forgiveness?
  • Superstitious (เกษตร ...ตะกอน, Kaset Ta Korn), directed by Nonzee Nimibutr – Adapted from Thanthawan Dok Nueng, a story by Senee Saowapong, about a farmer who plants a fast-growing genetically modified sunflower seed that villagers believe has magical powers. Their gathering of worship causes a disturbance on the farmer's land and eventually the police arrive to put a stop to it, on the grounds that the worshipers are terrorists.
  • The Greatest Love, (รักที่ยิ่งใหญ่) by Sirisak Koshpasharin and Pranpaporn Srisumanant – Childhood friends grow up in a rural farming village with an appreciation for the "sufficiency economy" theory. One of the young men enters politics, becomes corrupt and tries to convince the villagers to sell their land to a factory owner.

There are also two features:

  • The Ultimate Dream (ปิดทองหลังพระ ตอน ความฝันอันสูงสุด, Pid Thong Lung Phra), directed by Punyos Chinbuasuwan and Rames Leeraksithi – Veteran filmmaker Manop Udomdej produces this feature-length biographical drama about two heroes, a soldier, Captain "Khan" Thornit Srisuk, and a policeman, Captain "Tee" Krittikul Bunlue. Maj-Colonel Wannasak Sawasdi (Naresuan) and Sornram Theppitak star. The title refers to the act of placing gold leaf on the back of a Buddha statue – doing a good deed without expecting recognition.
  • 9 Mahasan Ong Rachan Palang Pan Din (๙ มหัศจรรย์ องค์ราชัน พลังแผ่นดิน), directed by Pam Rungsri – A compilation of short segments that celebrate the "nine miracles", including concepts about unity, music, art, sufficiency and the environment.

A 3D version of The Greatest Love, which combines live action and motion-graphic animation, screens by itself at 10.30 daily. The 2D version is screened with the other three shorts.

Tickets are at a table in the lobby of SFW CentralWorld. Check this spreadsheet for the schedule or visit the cinema website.

Break Ke Baad – Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone star in this nostalgic romance. They are childhood sweethearts, but then Deepika heads off to Australia. Will the lovers get back together? Critical reception is mixed. It's showing at Major Cineplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) tonight and Friday at 8 and at Major Cineplex Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4. Bollywood Thai is also showing the comedy Golmal 3 at Major Rama III at 4pm on Monday and the right-to-death melodrama Guzaarish at Major Sukhumvit on Monday at 7.30pm. Call (083) 488 2620.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene special: Four short films for HM the King's 83rd birthday

Three Silpathorn Award laureates are among the directors of four short films that will screen at Bangkok's SF World Cinema at CentralWorld from today in a Film Festival in Commemoration of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty the King's 83rd Birthday Anniversary.

The films are:
  • Terribly Happy (สุดสะแนน, Sudsanan), directed by Pimpaka Towira
  • Superstitious (เกษตร ...ตะกอน), directed by Nonzee Nimibutr
  • Six to Six, (เพลงชาติไทย, Pleng Chat Thai) by Aditya Assarat
  • The Greatest Love, (รักที่ยิ่งใหญ่) by Sirisak Koshpasharin and Pranpaporn Srisumanant

Nonzee, Pimpaka and Aditya were given the Silpathorn Award in 2008, 2009 and this year, respectively. The prestigious contemporary-arts honor is conferred by Thailand's Office of Contemporary Art and Culture of the Ministry of Culture. Those government agencies are among the organizers of the film-festival project.

In Pimpaka's Terribly Happy, a young soldier stationed in southern Thailand takes his leave to return to his hometown in Udon Thani in the Northeast and finds that his girlfriend has a Westerner for a lover. He's angry as first, but learns forgiveness.

An e-mail from Pimpaka's production company Extra Virgin explains further:

Loosely translated as "terribly happy", Sudsanan is an Isaan expression meaning the state where all the sorrows and miseries end, leaving only the feeling of blissful happiness. Similarly, the main idea behinds this film is that human sufferings can be healed by learning how to give.

In a situation of severe conflict, we always think that there has to be a winner and loser. But the reality is that there is never a real winner. Any battle, big or small, always has a cause in greed, ego and self-centeredness.

The filmmaker is inspired by the speech of His Majesty the King on Compassion, which is one of the Ten Royal Virtues. The filmmaker hopes that this film will help bringing about the importance of compassion and generosity in our society on all levels, no matter what social status or language.

There's also a trailer for Pimpaka's Terribly Happy.

Aditya's Six to Six was completed very quickly, and in fact was only shot earlier this month! The Pop Pictures blog explains how they did it.

Here's more about Six to Six:

One afternoon, Kaen, Noi, and Pa Nit, employees of an old apartment building, are cleaning the master’s room on the top floor. They eat lunch, chat about this and that, and enjoy the cool breeze from the canal. At six o’clock they wait for the national anthem to mark the passing of another peaceful day in the kingdom.

Director’s Statement

I’m just a normal person. I’ve never met the King, never even seen him, except on TV. I suspect most Thai people are like me. So I wanted to make a film from the perspective of the small people living in this kingdom. As a man we may not know His Majesty, but as a symbol, his presence is felt all around us, like the warm sunlight or the cool breeze of an afternoon, a constant amid the conflicts currently afflicting our nation.

The Greatest Love, a melodrama extolling the virtues of His Majesty's "sufficiency economy" theories, is screened in 3D as well as 2D. The 3D version screens by itself at 10.30 daily until Friday. The 2D version is screened with the other three shorts.

There are also two feature films, So the short films aren't screening in all sessions. There's also The Ultimate Dream (ปิดทองหลังพระ ตอน ความฝันอันสูงสุด), about military heroes, starring Maj-Colonel Wanchana Sawatdee (Naresuan) and Sornram Theppituk, and 9 Mahasan-Ong-Rachan-Palang-Pan-Din (๙ มหัศจรรย์ องค์ราชัน พลังแผ่นดิน), which is a compilation of segments about nine miracles.

The screenings are at SFW CentralWorld. Free tickets are at a table in the lobby. You can also check this spreadsheet for the schedule.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening November 25-December 1, 2010

Let Me In

The boy from The Road, Kodi Smit-McPhee meets "Hit Girl" from Kick-Ass, Chloe Moretz, in Let Me In, a Hollywood remake of the acclaimed 2008 Swedish coming-of-age vampire thriller Let the Right One In

Shifting the story from snowy Sweden to New Mexico in the American southwest, Smit-McPhee is a lonely and bullied 12-year-old boy. He befriends his new neighbor (Moretz), a girl who appears to be about 12 but is in fact a lot older.

Richard Jenkins also stars, along with Elias Koteas.

Matt Reeves, who helmed the alien-invasion thriller Cloverfield, directs.

Critical reception is generally favorable, with the consensus being "similar to the original in all the right ways, but with enough changes to stand on its own." Rated 18+.


After their collaboration on the subway thriller The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, director Tony Scott and star Denzel Washington are back on track in Unstoppable, a fact-based action thriller in which an unmanned runaway freight train hauling hazardous cargo is barreling toward a city.

Washington, playing a veteran locomotive engineer, and a rookie conductor (Chris Pine, the young James T. Kirk from Star Trek), team up to try and stop that train.

The movie is based on the Crazy Eights incident of 2001, when CSX train 8888 ran unmanned with hazardous cargo at high speed through the state of Ohio before it was brought to a stop by a locomotive that caught up with it and coupled to the rear.

Critical reception is generally favorable, with Unstoppable praised "as fast, loud and relentless ... perfect popcorn entertainment – and director Tony Scott's best movie in years." Rated G.

Also opening

My Soul to TakeNightmare on Elm Street creator Wes Craven writes and directs this slasher thriller about seven teenagers who share the same birthday as the day a serial killer in their small town supposedly died. As they all near their 16th birthday, the remembers of the "Riverton Seven" find themselves stalked one by one, by the killer known as the Riverton Ripper. Critical reception is generally negative. In 3D. Rated 13+.

Guzaarish – Hrithik Roshan is a magician who is injured while performing a trick and becomes a quadriplegic. He ignites a controversy when he petitions a court to end his own life. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also stars as his nurse. Critical reception is generally positive. It's showing at Major Cinplex Sukhumvit (Ekamai) on Friday and Sunday at 7.30 and at Major Cineplex Rama III on Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 4. Call BollywoodThai at (089) 488 2620.

Also showing

A Design Film Festival – Part of the Bangkok International Design Festival, this first edition of A Design Film Festival is running at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld until Sunday. The traveling film event was launched this year in Singapore and has also popped up in Berlin. The line-up has Milton Glaser, a profile of the graphic artist who designed the iconic I Love NY logo; Rem Koolhaus: A Kind of Architect, about the Dutch architect and architectural theorist; Beautiful Loser, about a coming together of do-it-yourself subcultures in New York City; Herb & Dorothy, about Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, a couple that despite their modest means, have built up one of the world's most significant contemporary art collections; Visual Acoustics, about architectural photographer Julius Shulman; Craftwork, about a group of "creatives" who aim to keep a hands-on approach to their visual works; Extended Play, an eclectic selection of shorts; and J-Star, a sneak peek at new visual trends out of Japan. For the schedule, click to expand the e-card above and download or hit the festival website.

Science Film Festival – The sixth Science Film Festival, organized by the Goethe-Institut Thailand, the French Embassy and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology, runs until November 30 in venues throughout Thailand. In Bangkok, the screenings are at the Esplanade Cineplex Rattanathibhet, National Science Centre for Education at Ekamai, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, National Science Museum, the NSM Science Square at Chamchuri Square and TK Park at CentralWorld.

Take note that the French documentary Elle s’appelle Sabine (Her Name is Sabine), will have an encore screening on Saturday, November 27, at 2 in the Media Library at the Alliance Française Bangkok. Admission is free.

Sneak preview

The Social Network – David Fincher (Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) directs this drama that's based on the founder of Facebook. Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) wrote the screenplay, which is adapted froma book by Ben Mezrich. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Mark Zuckerberg, who founded the social-networking website while he was at Harvard. Justin Timberlake plays Napster founder Sean Parker, the dotcom entrepreneur who guided Facebook in its days as a booming startup. Critical reception is mostly favorable. "Impeccably scripted, beautifully directed and filled with fine performances [it's] a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest," is the consensus. Sounds like an Oscar possibility. The Social Network is in nightly sneak previews through Sunday before going to a wider release next Thursday. Rated 13+.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bangkok Cinema Scene: Movies opening November 18-24, 2010

Fair Game

Naomi Watts stars Fair Game, a fact-based political thriller, about Valerie Plame, whose work as a secret agent for the CIA came to an end when she was exposed as a result of political maneuvering by the Bush White House.

Sean Penn portrays Plame's husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, who wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that refuted White House claims that Iraq had purchased weapons-grade yellowcake uranium from Niger, which poked holes in the Bush administration's stories about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

It's believed that Plame was exposed in retaliation for her husband's opinion.

Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Swingers) directs.

Critical reception is mostly favorable. It's in limited release at House on RCA, SFW CentralWorld and Paragon. Rated 15+.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

It's almost over. The movie adaptation of the seventh and final book in author J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is split into two parts, with the first part out this week, and part two coming out next July.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry, Ron and Hermione escape from Hogwarts on a mission to find the Horcruxes, which hold the key to immortality and destruction of the evil Lord Voldermort. While the teenage wizards are all alone, the dark lord's powers are growing ever stronger, making things more dangerous than ever.

David Yates, who's helmed the movie series since the fifth entry, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, directs.

All the main cast returns, including Daniel Radcliffe as Harry with Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Harry's best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Critical reception so far is highly favorable. While 3D is planned for Part 2, Part 1 is all in 2D, and includes an IMAX version. Rated 13+.

Also showing

Science Film Festival – The sixth Science Film Festival runs until November 30 in venues throughout Thailand. The fest focuses on “family edutainment”, with an aim to explain the world in a fun way to young audiences, along with films for all ages in the categories of “Ecology and Environment”, “Natural Science, Life Science and Technology” and “Culture and History”. The festival is organized by the Goethe-Institut Thailand, the French Embassy and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology and is supported by the National Science and Technology Development Agency and Bayer Thai. In Bangkok, the screenings are at the Esplanade Cineplex Rattanathibhet, National Science Centre for Education at Ekamai, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thai Film Archive in Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, National Science Museum, the NSM Science Square at Chamchuri Square and TK Park at CentralWorld.

ExploreAsia Film Festival – It's rare that the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand is open on a Saturday, and this special occasion, running from 10am to 4.30pm this Saturday at the FCCT, will have a selection of six short documentaries, selected by the Explorer's Club of New York.

Among the selection is The Last Elephants in Thailand, which was featured earlier this year at the Bangkok IndieFest.

Here's the lineup of the ExploreAsia fest:

  • 10am – Hovsgol Nuur: Diving in the Land of Chinggis Khan (Mongolia)
  • 11am – Hope from the Land of the Polar Bear, directed by George Meegan (Japan)
  • 12.15pm – Lunch
  • 1.15pm – Bordering Happiness in Chinas, directed by Yu Shu (China)
  • 2.15pm – Crossing the Line (North Korea)
  • 4pm – The Last Elephants in Thailand (Thailand)

All are narrated or subtitled in English. Come for one or a few films, or for the entire day.

Admission is 150 baht for FCCT members, students and children under 17; all others pay 300 baht.

Bangkok International Design Festival – A Design Film Festival is running at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld from November 23 to 30 as part of the Bangkok International Design Festival. The traveling film event was launched this year in Singapore and has also popped up in Berlin. It features a selection of documentaries on architecture, graphic design, art, photography, motion graphics and guerrilla capture. Here's the line-up:

  • Milton Glaser – A profile of the graphic artist who designed the iconic I Love NY logo, which replaced the word "love" with a red heart.
  • Rem Koolhaus: A Kind of Architect – The Dutch architect, architectural theorist, urbanist and professor at Harvard whose many works include the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing.
  • Beautiful Loser – Here's a look at a group of like-minded outsiders who found common ground at a little New York City storefront gallery, and made it their home for a do-it-yourself subculture that included skateboarding, surf, punk hip-hop and graffiti.
  • Herb & Dorothy – Using their modest means, Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and his librarian wife Dorothy have built up one of the world's most sigificant contemporary art collections. This is their story.
  • Visual Acoustics – There are architects to design buildings and then photographers who take pictures of them. Julius Shulman is a photographer, whose celebrated images have captured nearly every major modern American architectural landmark, including works by Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry.
  • Craftwork – Here's a look at a group of "creatives" who aim to keep a hands-on approach to their visual works in the digital age, stitching, knitting, collaging, sticking and folding things together.
  • Extended Play – This is an eclectic selection of shorts that explore new approaches in graphic and alternative storytelling.
  • J-Star – A sneak peek at new visual trends, including eye-popping sights, side-splitting fun and serene beauty in music videos, motion graphics and shorts from Japan.

Check the festival website for more details about the schedule at SFW CentralWorld.

Elle s’appelle Sabine (Her Name is Sabine) – Documentary Film Month continues at the Alliance Française Bangkok with this 2007 work by actress and director Sandrine Bonnaire about her autistic sister, Sabine Bonnaire. It recounts Sabine's story through personal archives, shot over a period of 25 years, and gives an account of her life today. It's showing on Wednesday, November 24 at 7:30pm and on Saturday, November 27 at the Alliance Française, with English subtitles. Take note that the documentary Une aventure musicale, l’Ensemble intercontemporain, will have an encore screening on Saturday, November 20, at 2 in the Media Library. Admission is free.