Saturday, June 20, 2009

Update June 20

It’s the old Transformers at Vista! 3 films today at “Fly Beyond the Barbwire Fence Festival”!


Chiang Mai movies update, Saturday, June 20, 2009



by Thomas Ohlson


1.  Three films will be playing today at the very interesting “Fly Beyond the Barbwire Fence Festival” in the auditorium of the Chiang Mai University Art Museum on Nimmanhaeman Road.

At 12 Noon:  Bridge Over the Wadi /يداً بيد جسر عبر الوادي/ יד ביד גשר על הוואדי  Written, directed, and produced by Tomer Heymann and Barak Heymann – 55 mins – Israel, Documentary.


For the first time in Israel, a group of Arab and Jewish parents decide to establish a joint bi-national, bi-lingual school inside an Arab village. The film follows the school's first year and portrays through the personal stories of its characters, how complicated and fragile is the attempt to create an environment of co-existence against the backdrop of the complicated reality around.


Adults expected the bi-lingual, bi-cultural education would lead to peace, but they themselves eventually become the obstacles for that peace.


The school “Bridge over the Wadi” has an equal number of Arab and Jewish students; each class has two teachers, one Arab and one Jewish, the school has two co-principals, Arab and Jewish. The school teaches bi-lingually, in Arabic and Hebrew; the students' achievements in both languages are comparable to the achievements of students in single-language schools in Israel.


The school exposes the students to the three cultures: Jewish, Islamic and Christian, and demonstrates in a straight-forward and practical way the principles of democracy and social equality. [Wikipedia]


There is a fascinating discussion of this film at


Some excerpts:


Bridge Over The Wadi packs a tremendous emotional punch. It doesn't offer complete answers. It does show a significant attempt to move forward in reciprocal understanding rather than mutual narrow-mindedness. . . .


Things come to a crunch over religious festivals, not unexpectedly. One particular memorial day is shared by both sides. For Jews, it is known as Independence Day. For Arabs, it is known as Nakba (catastrophe) Day. . . .


Teachers look for language that simply expresses facts. Beliefs and emotions should be handled separately from history. The Arab teacher gets upset, shedding tears: "Left is not the same as uprooted!" That one small word offends. 'Uprooted' makes the Jews feel like wrongdoers. 'Left' suggests the displaced Arabs simply decided one day to leave the land of their own accord.


The film’s website is quite interesting, at:


At 13:25:  Flowers of Rwanda / Flores de Ruanda (2008) by David Muñoz – 24 mins – Spain, Documentary/ Short. Rwanda, 14 years after the genocide that took away the lives of more than 800,000 people. What's the current situation of the people of Rwanda? What feelings prevail in the hearts of the victims of the Rwanda genocide? Can genocide victims and killers live together? What's the importance of education in a post-genocide society? Could films become a way of educating the people of Rwanda, and especially Rwandan children? Can a film festival make a difference? May the history of the Rwandan genocide happen again? Who should act when genocide is taking place? Do we, as individuals, have any responsibility for stopping genocide?


Flowers of Rwanda was produced as a collaboration between the Rwanda Ministry of Education and Culture and the Rwanda Film Festival. This documentary movie was completely filmed in the country of Rwanda under the direction of David Muñoz.


There is a beautiful website for the film, where you can see much of the film and much about the film and the events of the Rwanda genocide:



At 15:45:  Colors of Our Hearts (2009) by Supamok Silarak – 90 mins – Thai, Documentary.


A series of lives that cross paths and reveal the fates and struggles of:


a Mon boy who dreams of a proper schoolbag and a chance to meet with the Thai King,


a migrant teacher who lives a life under shadows,


a stateless woman who has been on a long journey to find a way home, and


a young Northern teenage girl and a little bird.


This is the second feature film by the Friends Without Borders foundation, based on true stories told by migrant workers, stateless persons, and the local northerners. It was created by diverse national and ethnic casts and crews, including the Mon migrant workers in Mahachai, Samutsakorn province.



2.  The Transformers playing now at Vista is the original Transformers, the last one, the 2007 entry, and not the new one opening throughout the world on Tuesday. Maybe they were hoping to fool us. They fooled me! It’s a Thai-dubbed version, with no English subtitles, at 50 baht a ticket.


Here’s my original review from 2007:


Transformers:  144 mins – US  Action/Sci-Fi – It is indeed big, loud, and full of testosterone-fueled car fantasies – a gigantic, spectacular, and funny summer blockbuster movie, with truly exceptional and unprecedented visual effects.  See it, you’ll have fun.  You may think it way too long, but if so it’s simply too much of a good thing.


The story:  For centuries, two races of robotic aliens – the Autobots® and the Decepticons® – have waged a war, with the fate of the universe at stake.  When the battle comes to Earth, all that stands between the evil Decepticons® and ultimate power is a clue held by young Sam Witwicky, an appealing and average 11th grade schoolboy.  He doesn’t look like a teenager to me, but he certainly acts like one.  Sam is consumed with everyday worries about school, friends, cars, and girls.  After he makes friends with the Autobots®, he gets to save the world, and get a car!  And even the girl!  Actually, it’s great fun, although I must think the depiction of suburban American family life, with the weird interactions of teenagers with their parents, must puzzle Thais.  Sam’s parents here are so believable that they come across as monsters.  Other monsters include the US government and US military, but they are bumbling monsters that can’t really get their act together.  Good put-downs of American foibles.




No comments: