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Thai films head to London with a note of explanation

Jun 12. 2015
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By The Nation

The Culture Ministry has selected seven Thai movies for screening at the Thai Film Festival in London from June 25 to 27.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, home of the Bafta Awards, is hosting the “Totally Thai” event celebrating Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday, and we’ve got some goodies lined up for them.

Off to Merry Old England are “The Teacher’s Diary”, “Ghost Coins”, “Concrete Clouds”, “Tom Yum Goong 2”, “Phlae Kao” (“The Scar”), the animated “The Story of Mahajanaka” and the documentary “Poo Somboon” (“Somboon”).

ML Bandevanop Devakul, who directed “The Scar”, says it’s an honour to have a movie picked to represent Thai culture overseas, especially for a film festival that’s entirely devoted to a given country’s culture rather than the entries’ technical and aesthetic merits.

Bandevanop has readied an “international version” of his romance-tragedy, re-editing it with an extra 45 minutes to explain what happened after the death of the hero and heroine, Khwan and Riam. “It’s another story, kind of, and I hope the European viewers like it, because the storytelling is done in a more international style now,” he says.

Well what about us? Yes, we’ll get to see the extended cut, too. Bandevanop plans to bring it back from London and pop it into cinemas here by early July, a good few months before his newest film, “Mae Bia”, hits the screens in October.

Body gets some slamming

Bodyslam lead singer Atiwara “Toon” Kongmalai is sporting a lean and haggard look lately that has some people wondering whether he’s strung out on drugs because, well, he’s a rock star and that’s what rock stars do.

However, as his fans and anyone who follows the celebrity gossip know, exactly the opposite is true. Toon is in fact quite the sportsman and he’s always working out. He’s forever looking for fresh physical challenges. He once played ping-pong for his home province, Suphan Buri, at the national level, and, while he was never of professional calibre, he was fearless. He won some and lost some, but ably showed that he was at least a solid contender, even if not the best at the sport.

Toon’s latest challenge is the half marathon, and he’s planning to step up to the triathlon once he piles on more strength and stamina for all that running, swimming and cycling.

Well, the rumour-mongers don’t care. Just look at the guy in the photos posted online, they’ve been saying on the EFM radio station fan page. There’s one picture of him onstage with the band, shirt off, and somehow his mighty six-pack of abdominal muscles was interpreted was a sure sign of drug addiction. And, besides, how else are you going to perform nonstop for four hours unless you’re hooked on heroin or something?

Well, the pantheon of rock gods is crowded with junkies, and we don’t recall a single one of them ever sporting a six-pack.

Toon took the criticism and the pleas to “get off the stuff” in stride, posting a measured reply along the lines of “we know who we are and what we’re doing and what we don’t do”.

“People who hate us will still feel this way no matter what we do,” he said, “so it’s useless to try and change their minds. Just living with our loved ones and taking care of each other is the best we can do, I think.”

That sounds about right.


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