Thursday, February 5, 2009

Film Space schedule

At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm

During February, Film Space presents “The Month of Iron Hoofter.” What, you ask, is an “Iron Hoofter”? Well, Iron Hoofter is a rhyming allusion – Cockney rhyming slang, as it were. Hoofter rhymes with Poofter. I hope that helps.

Film Space 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. Now that the weather is cool, they are resuming their rooftop showings, weather permitting. You might want to bring something to sit on or lie on. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.

Saturday, February 7: Spider Lilies / Ci qing (2007) by Zero Chou – 94 mins – Taiwan Drama/ Romance.

First off in the series: lesbian love and tattoos in Taipei.

Shown fairly often on the Film Asia channel of True Visions cable television; I saw it first at the Bangkok International Film Festival in 2007. A steamy romance fable involving a sex worker and a tattoo artist, as the two young women reawaken a dormant love for each other, by lesbian Taiwanese documentary filmmaker Zero Chou.

Saturday, February 14: My Summer of Love (2006) by Pawel Pawlikowski – 86 mins – UK Drama/ Romance. Rated R in the US for sexuality, language, and some drug use. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 82/78 out of 100.

Second in the series: more lesbian love, this time in northern England.

ReelViews, James Berardinelli: My Summer of Love reserves the irony of its title for viewers who see the entire film. Yes, this is about the events of a summer, but it's up to the individual to decide whether what we're seeing on screen is love, a crush, co-dependency, or something altogether different. To a certain extent, this is a coming-of-age story. It's about a girl encountering a lot of things one would not normally expect her to experience in the kind of dead-end rut of existence she has fallen into. This summer unlocks impulses buried deep within her, some of which she acts upon and some of which she avoids - if only barely.

The story unfolds in and around a small Yorkshire town, which is home to 16-year old Mona (Natalie Press) and her older brother, Phil (Paddy Considine). Phil is an ex-con, who, upon his release from prison, reveals himself to be a changed man, having given himself to Jesus while inside. Now, as he's busy transforming the pub he and his sister inherited from their dead mother into a prayer center, Mona wonders where her beloved brother has gone. Bored with the monotony of her life, she takes her motor-less moped on short excursions. While on one of these, she meets Tamsin (Emily Blunt), a sophisticated beauty of her age who is home from boarding school for the summer. Although Mona is working class and Tamsin comes from money (she lives almost by herself in an ancient mansion overgrown by ivy), that doesn't stop a friendship from developing. In fact, it's almost inevitable, since these are apparently the only two teenagers in the town.

Tamsin, despite initially appearing self-confident, is haunted by ghosts. Her older sister, Sadie, died of anorexia. Her father and mother are absentee parents, with Mom on the road and Dad spending many of his waking (and sleeping) hours with his mistress. As Tamsin and Mona grow closer, it's clear that there's something almost unnatural about their pairing. They quickly transcend the usual bounds of friendship to enter into a sexual relationship, pledging undying love for one another. But there's a desperation about their words and actions, and, while Mona is straightforward in all of her dealings with her friend, Tamsin proves to be an able dissembler.

Over the course of the summer, Mona and Tamsin create their own reality, and one or both of them becomes defensive whenever something threatens to interrupt it.

My Summer of Love is one of those promising little gems that comes along and gets lost in the hype generated by Hollywood's flood of blockbusters. With its focus on character and atmosphere, Pawlikowski's feature represents 90 minutes well spent for anyone who cares about such basic narrative building-blocks.

Saturday, February 21: The Love of Siam (2007) by Chukiat Sakveerakul – 150 mins – Thai Drama/ Romance.

Third in the series: gay love, in Thailand. The granddaddy of Thai gay films, immensely popular. It swept the best picture prizes from all of Thailand's major film awards last year, and was this year’s Thailand submission for Oscar best foreign picture, but did not get nominated. With heartthrobs Mario Maurer and Witwisit “Pitch” Hiranyawongkul. The widely acclaimed film is a gentle drama that encompasses family dysfunction and homosexual teen puppy love. One of my favorite films!

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