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  • LIFE

    Art as our escape

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 16/09/2020

    » This year's theme is at once hopeful and ironic: "Escape Routes" suggests a flight from our unusual times of pathological disruption and political cataclysm -- here, there and everywhere -- and yet the theme is an acknowledgment of those in-our-face uncertainties from which we struggle to find an exit.

  • LIFE

    Asean on screen

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 02/09/2020

    » Ahead of the BAFF featuring Southeast Asian movies plus Chinese and Japanese titles, Life spoke with two filmmakers about their work

  • LIFE

    Back to the source

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 24/07/2020

    » Evil is not banal in Ju-on: Origins, a particularly grisly six-part Netflix series. The J-horror wave that broke at the turn of the millennium may no longer be in vogue, but this supposed origin story of the 2001 Ju-On: The Grudge is probably even more extreme in its depiction of ghostly malice and vengeance. It's scarier too -- if you have a stomach for murder, disembowelment, matricide and self-combustibility -- because here the origin of violence is mostly domestic: the violence committed by father against mother, mother against daughter, husband against wife, friend against friend. It's a series (or you could see it as a three-hour film) about monsters that shows us that monstrosity really is born and raised first and foremost by humans.

  • LIFE

    Uncle Boonmee at 10

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 22/05/2020

    » Rumour had spread early that morning that the Thai film would win big that night. How big? We daren't dream. The runner-up prize maybe? The Cannes grapevine, in those embryonic days of Facebook and Twitter, was fairly dependable but not downright on the money. It gives you the shape but never the details. The Thai film "will definitely win something", said one of my supposedly well-connected friends, accompanied by a speculative wink.

  • LIFE

    Eyes wide open

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 08/05/2020

    » The literature about modern Thai politics is not abundant, and by this I mean a narrative that grounds its characters in the double-whammy of coup d'etat and street protest that characterised the mid-2000s to mid-2010s. The period, plus a few years earlier when Thaksin Shinawatra rose to power, contains some of the most convulsive and era-defining moments that continue to shape the visible and invisible dimensions of Thai society in the present time, and it's astonishing that not more writers find it a rich wellspring of artistic expression (on the contrary, visual artists and theatre artists seem more responsive to the political currents of the same period).

  • LIFE

    Highbrow picks from Netflix

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/05/2020

    » Cannes Film Festival, the annual jamboree of world cinema usually taking place in May, has been postponed until further notice. In its absence, we delve into the Netflix menu and find four films that made their debut at Cannes over the past decades and made a noise in their own way.

  • LIFE

    Corona and the death of cinema (again)

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 30/03/2020

    » "Cinema is an invention without a future," said Louis Lumiere who, along with his brother Auguste, invented the Cinematographe in 1895. From its birth, cinema was convinced of its own death. From the very beginning, cinema predicted its own eventual demise. And that was before the two world wars, the advent of home video, laser disc, DVDs, Blu-rays, terrorism, mass shootings, Netflix, and now the coronavirus, the latest scourge that has sealed shut cinema houses around the world.

  • LIFE

    Beyond borders

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/03/2020

    » The two-channel video work by Ampannee Satoh begins with specks of light and ends, naturally, with darkness. Two cameras were attached at the bow and stern of a fishing boat, purportedly the same type used by Rohingya refugees when they fled whatever was hounding them into the sea. The images they captured are wobbly, disoriented, seasick-inducing, and for 20 minutes they simulate the experience of being lost at sea in the middle of the night -- the experience of displaced people unmoored in the lightless sea.

  • LIFE

    Imagining Krabi

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 11/03/2020

    » There's an archaeology of narrative in Krabi, 2562, a film by Anocha Suwichakornpong and Ben Rivers currently showing in select Bangkok cinemas. Layer upon layer, stratum upon stratum, dust on dust, it gives us a glimpse of how history, legend and biography is constructed. Like playful excavators, the two filmmakers peel off the palimpsest of a place and its people, real and imagined.

  • LIFE

    Climbing the one-inch barrier

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 10/02/2020

    » Hollywood gasped with embarrassment and sudden realisation when Bong Joon-ho, the director of Parasite, said in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes: "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to many more amazing films."

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