Doi Saket Film Festival everywhere!
Chiang Mai movies beginning Thursday, October 28, 2010
… through Wednesday, November 3
by Thomas Ohlson
Best Bets: The American. RED.
still holding on!
This newssheet is also online! Go to:
This is Issue Number 52 of Volume 5 of these listings, the end of our fifth full year. Next week we start year SIX! Back issues are available on the blog.
EU Film Festival in Bangkok: now in progress, Oct 21 to 31.
1st Doi Saket International Film Festival: now in progress, Oct 23 to 30. All info online: http://dsiff.tumblr.com/films
EU Film Festival in Chiang Mai: Nov 5 to 14. On the grounds of the “140-years Old Lanna Ancient House” on Charoen Prathet Road, between the Chedi Hotel and the small Iron Bridge. Open air, free.
World Film Festival in Bangkok: Nov 5 to 14.
Bangkok International Film Festival: Nov 19 to 29.
Luang Prabang Film Festival in Luang Prabang: Dec 4 to 11. Open air, free, 30 films. www.lpfilmfest.org
Open call for film submissions – Lifescapes: Southeast Asian Film Festival
The Southeast Asian Institute of Global Studies at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is holding an open call for films (documentary, docu-drama, or dramatic), 30 mins to 2 hours for the Lifescapes: Southeast Asian Film Festival, which is set for February 3-7, 2011. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2010. For information, click here.
Now playing in Chiang Mai * = new this week
Note: It looks like the distribution of Jackass 3D has been severely curtailed to a couple of locations in Bangkok. Whew! Close one!
* Eat Pray Love: US, Drama/ Romance – 2 hrs 13 mins – Written and directed by Ryan Murphy, and starring Julia Roberts with James Franco. A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to "find herself.” Based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. Mixed or average reviews: 50/52 out of 100. At Airport Plaza only.
Studio synopsis: Liz Gilbert (Roberts) had everything a modern woman is supposed to dream of having - a husband, a house, a successful career - yet like so many others, she found herself lost, confused, and searching for what she really wanted in life. Newly divorced and at a crossroads, Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life, embarking on a journey around the world that becomes a quest for self-discovery. In her travels, she discovers the true pleasure of nourishment by eating in Italy, the power of prayer in India, and, finally and unexpectedly, the inner peace and balance of true love in Bali.
Rotten Tomatoes consensus: The scenery is nice to look at, and Julia Roberts is as luminous as ever, but without the spiritual and emotional weight of the book that inspired it, Eat Pray Love is too shallow to resonate.
San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle: It is 140 minutes long and repetitious beyond belief. Yet for all its weaknesses - unconscious contradictions, travelogue simplicity and mix-and-match spirituality - Eat Pray Love is, like its central character, on a genuine quest. It's about something important, the search for meaning and happiness, about finding one's inner life amid the clutter and confusion of modern existence.
* Fan Mai / แฟนใหม่: Thai, Action/ Horror/ Thriller – 1 hr 35 mins – Really lots of rain and blood. A girl calls it off with her boyfriend when she finds he’s been seeing someone else – who’s dead. Looks kind of intriguing as well as spooky.
* Confession of the Winners, AF1-AF6 / Lah Fah Fun 3D / ล่า ฝ่า ฝัน (in 3D): Thai, Musical – 2 hrs 20 mins – A musical concert movie featuring the winners of Academy Fantasia’s first six seasons. Really lots of music by young stars of varying talent. Thailand’s first 3D movie, and it comes not from a studio but from our main cable broadcaster, TrueVisions. At Airport Plaza only; no English subtitles.
Wise Kwai: Has footage from the Victory of the Winners concert that was filmed back in August at Bangkok's Huamark Indoor Stadium, using 3D technology and expertise from Ocean Mango of South Korea, and actually involved the audience having to wear 3D glasses to experience the effects.
According to a Bangkok Post story, the 90 minutes of stereoscopic concert footage is padded out with 30 minutes of background interviews with each of the AF winners, which was filmed in 2D and converted to 3D.
* The Dog / Ching Mah Terd / ชิงหมาเถิด: Thai, Action/ Comedy – 1 hr 40 min – Three would-be hoodlums set out to kidnap a dog famous in their land as a Friendship Mascot, and a rogue gunman sets out after them. Starring heartthrob Mario Maurer, semi-heartthrob “B” Pakorn Chatborirak, and funnyman Kohtee Aramboy. Rated 18+ in Thailand. English subtitles at Vista, none at Airport Plaza.
The American: US, Drama/ Suspense/ Crime – 1 hr 45 mins – Wonder of wonders! It’s still here, and now going into its third week! Who would have thought? Grab the opportunity and go – even a second time. Don’t expect your usual thriller. It’s just the opposite. There’s little action – it’s rather a slow and moody introspection, a musing on what is happening in the mind of this assassin, played by George Clooney. More an art-house film rather than a Hollywood thriller. Rotten Tomatoes describes the film as “divisive,” which I thought was strange, but thinking about it, that’s right on. It divides an audience. Some will love it, some will find it boring. I find it slow but fascinating. The photography is gorgeous, the acting mesmerizing, and the puzzles intriguing. If you have ever enjoyed the Japanese warrior masterpieces, don’t miss this one.
In English and some Italian. Rated R in the US for violence, sexual content, and nudity; 18+ in Thailand. At Vista only, and with thanks to them for bringing such an interesting and non-mainstream film to Chiang Mai. Generally favorable reviews: 61/65 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes consensus: As beautifully shot as it is emotionally restrained, The American is an unusually divisive spy thriller -- and one that rests on an unusually subdued performance from George Clooney.
Roger Ebert: The American allows George Clooney to play a man as starkly defined as a samurai. His fatal flaw, as it must be for any samurai, is love. Other than that, the American is perfect: Sealed, impervious and expert, with a focus so narrow it is defined only by his skills and his master. Here is a gripping film with the focus of a Japanese drama, an impenetrable character to equal Alain Delon's in "Le Samourai," by Jean-Pierre Melville.
Slate, Dana Stevens: If you're willing to let go of your Hollywood-bred expectations for a movie of this type-spectacular action set pieces, constant pulse-pounding music, a killing every 15 minutes-The American is a great pleasure to watch, an astringent antidote to the loud, frantic action movies that have been clogging our veins all summer.
RED: US, Action/ Comedy – 1 hr 51 mins – This is a delight! I had more fun at this one than any movie in some time. It even made you muse over a few things as you sped along, but not too much and not too deeply. Mostly it’s just glorious nonsense, with actors that you have come to love to watch, doing their stuff. Just terrific fun. When his idyllic life is threatened by a high-tech assassin, a former black-ops agent (Bruce Willis) reassembles his old team in a last ditch effort to survive. “RED” stands for “Retired, Extremely Dangerous.” Starring Bruce Willis, and with Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, and Mary-Louise Parker. Great cast! “Frank, Joe, Marvin, and Victoria used to be the CIA's top agents - but the secrets they know just made them the Agency's top targets. Now targeted for assassination, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience, and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they will uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-up in government history.” (Studio blurb) Rated 18+ in Thailand. Generally favorable reviews: 61/61 out of 100. At Airport Plaza only.
My Best Bodyguard / แฟนใหม่: Thai, Action/ Thriller – Starring the Princess Ubolratana as a dedicated reporter fighting a villainous pharmacy organization that secretly runs an experiment involving a deadly virus which can kill a whole city. Shahkrit Yamnarm is a gunman who's protecting her.
Devil: US, Horror/ Mystery/ Thriller – 1 hr 20 mins – A group of people trapped in an elevator realize that the devil is among them. Produced by M. Night Shyamalan, which the directors and crew are desperately trying to live down, being that his name, post-Airbender, is as welcome as the devil himself. Mixed or average reviews: 44/44 out of 100. At Vista only.
Chicago Reader, Ben Sachs: The great cinematographer Tak Fujimoto has the time of his life on this low-budget horror feature, playing with dolly shots, abrupt zooms, and negative space inside the widescreen frame, and the fun is infectious.
The New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis: A serviceable burst of high-end hokum, Devil classes up a flimsy, religion-themed plot (by M. Night Shyamalan) with the kind of limber cinematography only someone like Tak Fujimoto can deliver.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (now 2D): US/ Australia, Animation/ Adventure/ Fantasy – 1 hr 30 mins – The animation is superb, and it’s a beautifully wrought film with inventively superb use of 3D, and brilliant vocal work done by the star actors providing the voices. But it’s now being shown only at Airport Plaza, and only in a 2D version, thereby losing all of the superb 3D effects. And only in a Thai-dubbed version, meaning that you lose completely the carefully crafted voice-work; there are no English subtitles. Mixed or average reviews: 53/55 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Legend of the Guardians' dark tone and dazzling visuals are to be admired, even if they're ultimately let down by a story that never lives up to its full potential.
The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen Farber: This picture sometimes rivals Avatar in its spectacular landscapes and thrilling flying sequences, but of course it won't come anywhere near those megagrosses, and it's too scary to be wholeheartedly embraced by children.
E Hed Sod Pa Ded Suek / อีเห็ดสดเผด็จศึก: Thai, Comedy – Outrageous Thai comedy routines involving a bride who happens to have a penis, and is shown in the trailers raping her bridegroom by riding roughshod over his sensibilities with her inflamed member. Just the usual Thai hijinks. The studio describes the plot thus: “Captain Muengman who suffers from losing his virginity to his ladyboy bride is assigned to do a challenging mission. When the unusual ladyboy terrorists are rising, Captain Muengman is chosen to defeat them. To complete the mission Captain Muengman and his team have to disguise themselves as one of the ladyboys in order to trick Golden Flower, the ladyboy leader of the terrorists who has painful memories about guys.” That should clear it all up. It’s noisy trash, to be blunt. Rated 18+ in Thailand. At Vista only.
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2D): US/ Australia, Action/ Comedy/ Family – 1 hr 22 mins – The age-old battle between cats and dogs, in live-action with animated mouths that spout talk that’s meant to be cute, in 3D in most places but not here. Only at Airport Plaza, and only in a Thai-dubbed version. Generally unfavorable reviews: 30/36 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Dull and unfunny, this inexplicable sequel offers little more than the spectacle of digitally rendered talking animals with celebrity voices.
Scheduled for November 4
Paranormal Activity 2: US, Horror/ Thriller – After experiencing what they think are a series of "break-ins", a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
... and looking forward
Nov 18: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I: UK/ US, Adventure/ Fantasy/ Mystery – Voldemort's power is growing stronger. He now has control over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts. Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide to finish Dumbledore's work and find the rest of the Horcruxes to defeat the Dark Lord. But little hope remains for the Trio, and the rest of the Wizarding World, so everything they do must go as planned. The first of the two-part conclusion to the series; Part II due in July of 2011 – both directed by David Yates, who has directed the last two Harry Potter films. Both of the concluding movies (Part I and Part II) will be shown completely in 3D and in IMAX 3D.
Nov 25: Let Me In: UK/ US, Drama/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Romance/ Thriller – A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian. Chloë Grace Moretz (one of the nice things about the movie Kick-Ass; she played Hit Girl) stars as Abby, a mysterious 12-year-old who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school. In his loneliness, Owen forms a profound bond with his new neighbor, but he can't help noticing that Abby is decidedly weird! I’m really looking forward to this.
The original – Let the Right One In – is a terrific 2008 award-winning Swedish film, and will be playing at Film Space this Saturday evening, October 30. I love the original, and they’re saying the remake is terrific too! For sure, it’s got an exciting and intriguing trailer, which you can see here. Rated R in the US for strong bloody horror violence, language, and a brief sexual situation. Generally favorable reviews: 79/78 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: Similar to the original in all the right ways -- but with enough changes to stand on its own -- Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration.
Nov 25: The Social Network: US, Drama/ History – By David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac, Panic Room). A story about the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook. Studio synopsis: “On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.”
* = Coming soon
AF = Alliance Française; FS = Film Space; GF = Gay Film Series
At 1st Doi Saket International Film Festival
Going strong all over the place! Tonight, well worth your consideration, Mundane History.
Thursday, October 28 At Alliance Française
138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel.
Thursday, October 28, 8:30 or 9 pm: “The tentative time for Mundane History is about 8:30 – 9:00 pm. We truly apologize in advance if we can't fix the time 100%.” (But remember, they showed the films opening night an hour ahead of the scheduled time.)
Mundane History / Jao nok krajok / เจ้านกกระจอก (2009) written and directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong, supported by Electric Eel Film Co., Ltd. – 1 hr 22 mins – Thai, Drama – In Thai, with English subtitles. Explores the relationship between Ake, a young man who is paralyzed from the waist down after an accident, and Pun, the male nurse who takes care of him, and Ake's father. Ake is at first cold towards his nurse Pun, but as Pun continues to earnestly take care of him he starts to open up his heart through candid conversations. The physical contact with Pun makes him rethink physical desires that he wants to forget. The grudge he held against his father slowly abates. All of this slowly becomes the motivating factor to confirm that he is alive, albeit with physical problems. Rated 20+ in Thailand. Note: Whereas the other ratings are suggestions and not legally binding, 20+ is. And you must have ID to prove your age.
Trailer available here.
Doi Saket IFF: Perhaps one of the most famous Thai movies premiered in prestigious international film festivals. With the help of DSIFF and the nonprofit organization Cultural Canvas Thailand, this film will be used to raise donations to help disabled children in Chiang Mai.
MUBI: A male nurse joins the staff of a well-to-do family to care for a son about the same age whose bitterness over being paralyzed by some sort of accident has turned to outright nastiness. The first half or more of the film is the mundane part, the sheer mechanics of meals and baths and allowing the son's insults to roll off one's back, as befits the nurse's social station. But eventually, yes, of course, the ice breaks and the young men establish a tentative friendship. Segue to the history part. Remember when, in Adaptation, "Charlie Kaufman" has his breakthrough and suddenly realizes that to tell his story right, he'll have to go back to the dawn of time and retrace the birth of the cosmos, the evolution of humankind and all that? Well. Even though, thanks to Suwichakornpong's penchant for scrambling sequences of events ever just so, we do learn that our whiplash trip through an animated explosion of a supernova, backed by a sort of Thai pop Vangelis score, is actually a presentation at a planetarium, the string of montages it sets off does indeed eventually lead to a scene that could well be interpreted as a graphically literal depiction of reincarnation.
Wise Kwai: Saturday, November 7, 2009 - Like a jazz saxophone solo, Mundane History wails. It circles around, repeats patterns and doubles back on itself. It starts and stops yet also flows. It reaches highs that zoom into outer space, into the heart of a supernova, and comes crashing back down to Earth with a big splat.
Taking the idea of non-linear storytelling to new heights, Mundane History begins in the middle and ends with a beginning.
It's a startling debut feature from Anocha Suwichakornpong. Her 2006 Columbia University thesis short Graceland is the first and so far only Thai film to be selected for the Cinefondation shorts program at the Cannes Film Festival. She's made some other pretty cool and weird shorts, but I don't think anyone expected a film like this.
Then again, everything she's done up to now has had a certain precision and shown to be the work of a sure, steady hand. So perhaps she was holding back, waiting to spring this one on us, and leave everyone flabbergasted.
It was certainly a smashing opener for the 7th World Film Festival of Bangkok, electrifying even with its opening chords of distortion-heavy rock guitar.
As pieced together through the chronologically fractured timeline, the story is about a young man named Ake who is paralyzed from the waist down after an accident. A male nurse, Pun, is hired to care for him. Pun is a chunky guy, with big biceps that are necessary, because he has to carry Ake around in the two-story house that doesn't have ramps or a lift.
Ake is the scion of an upper-class family. The only parent around, though not very much, is his father, who is kind but distant. There's a stern, maternal housekeeper, a bubbly cook and a groundskeeper-guard. Pun the nurse lives with the servants in their quarters. The estate is a nice enough place, but is showing signs of age.
The repeated patterns and non-linear storyline are meant to fit with the daily life of a paralyzed person, in which each day is the same and things that were said before are said again. The frustration over the mind-numbing routine is symbolized in a revealing bathtub scene involving Ake that is notable and probably historic for Thai cinema.
Anocha has also said that all the characters in her film, including the house, could be seen as allegories to Thailand. Just what parts each character plays is probably something each person who sees this movie will appreciate having to figure out for themselves.
* Wise Kwai's rating: 5/5 – Must See!
At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
The Alliance Française shows its series of French films in a small room in their building at 138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel. Tell your taxi "Samakhom Frangset" and/or "Wat Chaimongkhon." A contribution of 30 baht is requested; you pay outside at the information desk of the Alliance Française proper.
On Friday, October 29, 8 pm: Ascenseur pour l'échafaud / Elevator to the Gallows / Frantic (1958) by Louis Malle – 88 mins – Drama / Crime / Thriller. 16 mm film, B&W. English subtitles. Music by Miles Davis.
With Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin, Jean Wall, Elga Andersen, Sylviane Aisenstein, and Micheline Bona.
An industrialist is assassinated, but an elevator breakdown prevents a perfect crime. Louis Malle's 1957 masterpiece of suspense and film noir starring Jeanne Moreau, in the role that catapulted her to international stardom. A wonderful original score by the legendary Miles Davis. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 93 out of 100.
– Alliance description
It's a tightly structured thriller with a brilliantly moody performance by Jeanne Moreau, and depending on your point of view, it's either one of the few genuine French noir films or an early entry in the New Wave. The plot is virtually archetypal: Moreau and her ex-paratrooper lover (Maurice Ronet) plot the murder of her husband, but one minor oversight launches a disastrous stream of consequences. We've got a murderer trapped in an elevator with the cops closing in, a beautiful woman wandering the Parisian streets alone and a couple of hotheaded kids in a stolen convertible with a loaded gun. The cinematography by Henri Decaë is amazing -- and yes, Davis' awesome cool-jazz score is even better with pictures attached.
On Friday, November 5, 8 pm: Coup de torchon / Clean Up / Clean Slate (1981) by Bertrand Tavernier – 2 hours 8 mins – France, Comedy/ Crime/ Drama. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 72 out of 100.
With Philippe Noiret, Isabelle Huppert, Guy Marchand, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Stéphane Audran.
“A bid for survival” located in Bourkassa, a small village in French Eastern Africa, Lucien is a policeman embroiled in a series of murders. Ridiculed by his fellow whites, he is going to take revenge… in his own way...
– Alliance Française description
Roger Ebert / April 6, 1983: Bertrand Tavernier's Coup de Torchon is a cruel intellectual joke played on its characters -- who endure boredom, self-contempt, hate, dust, flies, and sometimes even death without being allowed to know they're only part of an existential parable. Tavernier's film is about poor white trash in Africa in 1938, and there are times when they seem almost real -- but they're never allowed the pulse or the stubborn indomitability of their slovenly cousins, William Faulkner's Snopes family.
The movie is set in a small Senegalese village, on the eve of World War II. Tavernier shot on the actual location, and he achieves an absolutely convincing reality, right down to the reddish mud that has been splashed by the rain onto the yellowing stucco walls of the village sheds. His village is populated by lazy, corrupt French colonials, and by a supporting cast of Africans who drift through the background, unconcerned with the lives of the whites except when they have the misfortune to incur their wrath.
At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
October is “The Month of Undead Returns” at Film Space. November, “The Month of Mathematics.”
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. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave at least 20 baht. Well worth supporting. All films not in English are shown with English subtitles.
At Film Space Saturday, October 30, 7 pm: Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in (2008) by Tomas Alfredson – 1 hr 55 mins – Sweden, Drama/ Fantasy/ Mystery/ Romance – In Swedish with English subtitles. A terrific award-winning Swedish film, the original of the soon-to-be-released Hollywood remake, Let Me In, which they say is as terrific as the original. But I love the original one here. Rated R in the US for some bloody violence, including disturbing images, brief nudity, and language. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 82/82 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.
Rotten Tomatoes synopsis: Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can't stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live he's faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Let The Right One In is a story both violent and highly romantic, set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.
November is “The Month of Mathematics” at Film Space.
At Film Space Saturday, November 6, 7 pm: Pi / 3.14159265358 [working title] (1998) by Darren Aronofsky – 1 hr 24 mins – US, Drama/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – In English and a little Hebrew. Yes, π. The story: Max is a genius mathematician who's built a supercomputer at home that provides something that can be understood as a key for understanding all existence. Representatives both from a Hasidic cabalistic sect and high-powered Wall Street firm hear of that secret and attempt to seduce him. Rated R in the US for language and some disturbing images. Generally favorable reviews: 72 out of 100.
ReelViews, James Berardinelli: For anyone who wants a movie to feed their intelligence and imagination more than their eyes and ears, Pi is a solid choice.
At the Gay Film Series
Films with a gay theme shown every two weeks, with very limited seating, in a private home. Reservations a must to attend films in this series. To reserve: send email to: Chiangmai.firstname.lastname@example.org, mark in subject area “reserve” with the number in your party. For example, “Re: reserve 2.” A confirmation will be sent. To be placed on the mailing list for advance notice of movies just put in the subject line: “mailing list.”
Sunday, November 7, 7 pm: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001) written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell – 1 hr 35 mins – US, Comedy/ Drama/ Music – A transexual punk rock girl from East Berlin tours the US with her rock band as she tells her life story and follows the ex-boyfriend/bandmate who stole her songs. Rated R in the US for sexual content and language. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 85/78 out of 100. Reservations a must.
“There will be a discussion about the film after, with tea, coffee, or soft drinks. Please bring munchies such as cookies, cake, etc. to share. There will only be 8 people and you must reserve. This is on a first come first serve basis.”
Rotten Tomatoes consensus: Hedwig and the Angry Inch may very well be the next Rocky Horror midnight movie. It not only knows how to rock, but Hedwig's story has an emotional poignancy.
Rotten Tomatoes synopsis: Hedwig was born a boy named Hansel in Communist East Berlin who dreamed of finding his other half and becoming a big American rock star. When a handsome American GI promises love and liberation, it seems like a dream come true. But there's a catch – in order to marry and emigrate Hansel must "leave a little something behind." Hedwig survives a botched sex change operation that leaves her with an "angry inch" only to be stranded in a Kansas trailer park the very day the Berlin Wall comes down. Undeterred, Hedwig dons immaculate makeup and a Farrah Fawcett wig and forms a rock band – The Angry Inch. While supporting herself with babysitting gigs, she falls for a 16-year-old Jesus freak she renames Tommy Gnosis. Tommy steals her songs and becomes the rock star Hedwig always dreamed she'd be. Refusing to be defeated, she fiercely performs in crumbling theme restaurants seeking recognition, retribution, and reconciliation with her other half.