On the eve of its July 3 release in Thai cinemas, "The Last Executioner" ("Petchakat") - based on the true story of the country's last prison official tasked with killing convicts with a gun - has won an award at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Vithaya Pansrigarm was named Best Actor for his moving performance in the title role. In Thai-Irish director Tom Waller’s movie, he plays the late Chavoret Jaruboon, who, over the course of 19 years, executed 55 inmates at Bang Khwang Central Prison – until the machine gun was replaced by lethal injection in 2003.
Vithaya has pointed out that Chavoret, who wrote a best-selling autobiography after he retired, took the job so he could earn more money for his family. “He did a job no one else wanted to do,” Waller adds.
The award in China was well deserved for Vithaya, who spent months reading everything he could find on the character he played and even meeting members of Chavoret’s family. He put extra effort into understanding the prison guard, especially the inner karmic struggle he endured, knowing full well that Buddhists are forbidden from killing.
Waller is hoping Vithaya’s award will command more attention from Thai movie fans, though he’s not a new face in Thai cinema, having debuted in 2011 with “Sop Mai Ngiab” (“Mindfulness and Murder”). That film garnered critical acclaim and a pair of Subhanahongsa Awards – for best adapted screenplay and best supporting actor (Wannasak Sirilar). It didn’t do so well at the box office, but “The Last Executioner” ought to do much better thanks to its well-known subject matter and a foreign trophy straight out of the chute.
Pop goes the footie fan
Pop superstar Rihanna, evidently feeling lonely despite having 35.9 million followers on Twitter, went out and got a few million more this past week with a slew of cleverly timed football tweets.
“Ri-Ri”, as the fans call her, has been keeping a close eye on the World Cup in Brazil and is sharing her opinions like “crazy”. The British tabloids, which never take their eyes off her anyway, went nuts themselves when she appeared to be rooting for England as they took on Uruguay.
“Man they know better than to give Suarez that much room bruh!” Ri-Ri observed. More “commentary” followed during Germany-versus-Ghana, with her classic football terminology extending to “Goalkeepers getting phucking sleepy” – her most popular tweet to date. Former CNN host Piers Morgan mentioned it almost 4,000 people re-tweeted it.
Rihanna might be a rookie as a footie pundit – certainly the established English commentators like John Dykes, Phil Neville and Gary Lineker needn’t fear losing their jobs – but she’s sincere.
The really funny part about Rihanna becoming a major World Cup fan is that the Barbadian songstress doesn’t appear to have a favourite team. She seems to root for all the countries, and her tweets often sound like those of Brazuca the talking official ball (@brazuca), expressing satisfaction at any and every goal.
But what a great deal! She’s busy tweeting while the matches are being played and, no matter which team wins, she’s happy. Why not root for them all? Rihanna is showing us how to support football without ever getting upset – and how to keep “the beautiful game” beautiful.