Chiang Mai movies update, Saturday, July 26
by Thomas Ohlson
Experimental Film Festival in its 3rd and final weekend
The last two showings of the “Bangkok Experimental Film Festival 5 – Chiang Mai” are at 7 pm tonight, Saturday, July 26, and 7 pm tomorrow, Sunday, July 27.
Tonight’s time has been changed from 6:45 pm to 7:00 pm. At tonight’s showing there will be a chance to meet and interact with the people behind the festival, as the curator of the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, David Teh, is scheduled to be present to introduce the evening’s program and lead a Q&A session. He was present last night at Friday’s showing for a brief introduction to the films.
The festival, which began July 13, is a program of experimental films, independent short films, and experimental documentaries presented by the company of the acclaimed Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in association with the Thai Film Foundation and the independent arts organization Project 304. Most films are from Thailand, but some are from filmmakers all around the world.
This is the touring version of the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival 5, which ran in Bangkok in March of this year, the fifth year of the festival.
The showings are scheduled to begin at 7 pm tonight (Saturday). Always subject to last-minute changes, of course. Held at Film Space, which is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school, on the 2nd floor.
Saturday, July 26
The BEFF program is in two parts, the first a selection of short films by various filmmakers, and the second an extended full-length collection concentrating on two Thai collaborators. Also scheduled tonight, after the BEFF programs, is the regular Saturday night screening of Film Space, this week the fourth in the series of DVD film collections from Britain’s premier cutting-edge animation and short film enterprise, “One Dot Zero,” which is dedicated to exploring new forms of the moving image.
Times subject to change!
BEFF Part 1: 7:00-8:45 PM - Learned Behavior – A 75-minute program of short and experimental films exploring the poetics of reproduction, and the unconscious forces that shape the patterns of social and political life. How are things passed from one generation to the next? Can we unlearn what we have learned? With an introduction and a Q&A session with David Teh, the curator of the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival.
Among these short films is the controversial 8-minute “Middle-Earth” by Thunska Pansittivorakul, a rather languorous study of two naked men sleeping.
8:45 PM – Q&A – An introduction and Question and Answer session conducted by Curator David Teh.
BEFF Part 2: 9:15-11:15 PM (Time approximate) - Lolay + Giam Eee – A 120-minute ThaiIndie collection of recent video works by acclaimed illustrator and artist Lolay (Thaweesak Srithongdee) and his collaborator, Giam Eee. This feature-length program has never before been shown in Thailand.
Film Space Program: 11:15 PM-12:15 AM (Time approximate): One Dot Zero 4 – Select DVD4 – Twenty films from the world’s best and most innovative talent in moving image work, music video, motion graphics, and indie filmmaking from around the globe in ground-breaking visual styles. For titles, go to http://www.onedotzero.com/dvd.php?id=2810308.
BEFF Part 1: 7:00-8:45 PM - Learned Behavior – A 75-minute program of short and experimental films exploring the poetics of reproduction, and the unconscious forces that shape the patterns of social and political life. How are things passed from one generation to the next? Can we unlearn what we have learned? With an introduction and a following Q&A session with David Teh, the curator of the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival.
1. Pramote Saengsorn (TH): Observation of the Monk, 7.50 mins, 2008. My friend Wise Kwai, a Bangkok journalist and entertainment editor, says it's a “monk walking under a dusty bridge, encountering a pile of old CRT monitors (the wreckage of civilization) and then seeing a disturbing (?) image of himself.” One reviewer described it as “a voyeuristic monk in a Bangkok cruising area.”
2. Thunska Pansittivorakul (TH): Middle-Earth, 8.00 mins, 2007. A controversial study of two naked men sleeping. Wise Kwai: provocative human landscape study. Another writer says: “A white dream of a gay film maker. Two naked men on a white sofa. Yet it remains in the imagination. Pansittivorakul is the most outspoken gay film maker in Thailand. Or in the whole of Southeast Asia, you could say. The fact that last year he received a Silpathorn Award, an official state prize for artists, was one of the few encouraging events in a country with a military regime and unpredictable censorship. The film is an ode to the male body. Two naked men on a white sofa. And a film maker who restrains himself.”
3. Uruphong Raksasad (TH): Roy Tai Phrae, 3.00 mins, 2008. Wise Kwai: surprising. It starts out like Uruphong's other odes to idyllic rural life, with footage of farmers sowing rice by hand. Then another face comes into the picture: Samak Sundaravej, the new prime minister, as if to say: These are the people who elected him. Do you have a problem with that? What is he offering them that you aren't?
4. Manatsak Dorkmai (TH): Sports News, 3.00 mins, 2008. Wise Kwai: I'm not sure why Sports News was named as such. It's about a guy being questioned about what Thailand means. The guy says: Nation, Religion, King, and Constitution. No! There is no constitution. He is tortured. The guy is asked again: Nation, Religion, and King. Just the holy trinity.
5. Sanchai Chotirosserranee (TH): The Love Culprit, 6.30 mins, 2007.
6. Anocha Suwichakornpong (TH): 3 – 0, 8.00 mins, 2007. Wise Kwai: about three people on the move but getting nowhere, just like Thai society.
7. Olan Netrangsri (TH): Drive, 1.15 mins, 2007.
8. Nutthorn Kangwanklai (TH): The Duck Empire Strikes Back, 2.30 mins, 2007. Wise Kwai: hilarious – about a rubber duckie falling into a water barrel and can't get out, and is replaced on his perch by a dinosaur.
9. Paisit Punpruksachat (TH): Escape from Popraya 2526, 9.00 mins, 2007.
10. Nitipong Thinthupthai (TH): Krasob, 8.00 mins, 2007. It seems idyllic: Thai children playing with a bag of rice as a boxing bag to practice Thai boxing. But because the world of small Thai children is already so hard, they know they can also kick each other. Not as sweet as it looks.
11. Inge 'Campbell' Blackman (UK): Legacy, 18.00 mins, 2006. The filmmaker states that the film was made with her mother about the legacy of slavery on intimate relationships in African Caribbean families, filmed in Trinidad and Tobago. One reviewer describes it as “A visually and aurally sumptuous exploration of the legacy of slavery on mother/daughter relationships in African Caribbean culture. As they pay tribute to their ancestors, a daughter asks her Caribbean-born mother why she was taught both Afro-Caribbean and European religious traditions. The mother admits that there was conflict about which ideology to teach, so a mix of Cumina, Catholicism, and Anglicanism resulted. Though alienated by the beating she suffered as a child, the now-adult daughter describes her mother's understanding when, during college, she told her mother about her [lesbian] sexuality and her mother was lovingly accepting.”
BEFF Part 2: 9:15-11:15 PM (Time approximate) - Lolay + Giam Eee – A 120-minute ThaiIndie collection of recent video works by acclaimed illustrator and artist Lolay (Thaweesak Srithongdee) and his collaborator, Giam Eee (Boonchai Apintanaphong). This feature-length program has never before been shown in Thailand.
What is ThaiIndie? ThaiIndie is a non-profit group of Thai independent filmmakers formed in late 2004. The aim is to be a center for
Thai filmmakers whose films are unique and different from mainstream films, and that are free of formulaic themes. They emphasize more creative and innovative works showing personal artistic visions. The group helps in the promoting and distributing of films both locally and internationally. They also cooperate with other art communities, organizing activities and workshops for young filmmakers. In the past three years ThaiIndie films have been shown at more than 70 film festivals around the world. Check out www.thaiindie.com.
1. Non Kai Nha Pak 3:50 mins, 2003.
2. Welcome to Heroland, 22:35 mins, 2006.
3. Flesh, 8:10 mins, 2006.
4. Love So Strong, 4:38 mins, 2007.
5. Carry, 3:51 mins, 2007.
6. No One, 4:31 mins, 2007.
7. HERO Project, 21:51 mins, 2007.
8. Way, 3:51 mins, 2007.
9. Strawberry, 20:00 mins, 2008.
Sunday, July 27
7:00-8:00 PM: Experimental Music Videos – a 60-minute ThaiIndie collection of new and recent experimental music videos by Thai filmmakers, including works by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Sathit Sattarasart, Duck Unit, and Thunska Pansittivorakul.
Admission is free to all screenings.