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  • LIFE

    The skin I live in

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 11/01/2019

    » The body is a temple. But it can also be a torture chamber, from which escape, while possible, is soul-crushing. Lukas Dhont's Girl is an emphatic, moving story about Lara (Victor Polster), a Belgian trans teen at an elite ballet school who's going through male-to-female gender reassignment. That she has to contend with her own hormones and pre-assigned biological specifics, as well as the fact that her chosen career mandates extreme rigour in how the body should bend and behave, Lara's fight is nothing short of heroic. And in that vein, the film is as well.

  • LIFE

    An imperfect world

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 21/05/2019

    » Even on the ground at the Cannes Film Festival, what people seemed to be anticipating most on Monday was, well, the final episode of Game Of Thrones. No, it wasn't being shown at the festival (how unbecoming that would be), but isn't it a sign of our times that a TV episode has the Valyrian-steel nerve to dominate global discussion and upstage the world's biggest film showcase?

  • LIFE

    Once upon a time on the French Riviera

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 14/05/2019

    » The spectacle ahead will -- hopefully (cinema sages are an optimistic bunch) -- be spectacular. The 72nd Cannes Film Festival opens tonight and there are all manner of curiosities to look forward to: an army of hipster zombies; Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate; Korean parasites; a Maradona doc; an Elton John biopic; Islamic extremism in Belgium; British miserabilism (Brexit and other demons); and, of course, Elle Fanning on the red carpet for 11 days straight, performing jury duty at the world's most reported, most hyped and most influential film festival.

  • LIFE

    Squaring off at Cannes

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 02/06/2017

    » It was "a bad year", "a disappointing year", "a weak year", and so on. Curmudgeonly, typically, sometime jeeringly -- I count myself in the pack -- the critics bemoaned Cannes' official selection in the year it was supposed to be all glory and fireworks as the world's most important film festival blew its 70th candle. To the press corps present, the consensus (or something close) was that the "elite" competition titles were a catalogue of predictable provocations and unrealised ambitions, on top of the more-of-the-same arthouse fare from directors who attract attention by their names rather than by their latest works. It's true. But as always with Cannes, the expectation is too high, the collective hallucination too overpowering, and the four-to-five-films-a-day ordeal took a toll on enthusiasm even to the most passionate out there.

  • LIFE

    Sometimes transcendental, always relevant

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 25/05/2018

    » The American films were on short supply this year at Cannes -- which in turn deprived the assembly line of red carpet material -- but nobody seemed to mind that except, well, some American media and fashion bloggers. That superfluous caveat aside, the recently wrapped 71st Cannes Film Festival was nearly unanimously praised as one of the best editions in recent memory, with a string of good, sometimes very good, titles playing night after night -- and even the bad films weren't so offensively bad, as was often the case. In the midst of soul-searching following the question of relevance (the world wants Avengers), the rise of streaming (the world watches films on phones), the decline of arthouse popularity, Cannes insists on the sacredness of cinema, on the future of the art, and this year it paid off solidly.

  • LIFESTYLE

    In search of big ideas

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/01/2018

    » BangkokEdge Festival, billed as an "idea festival", returns to its old quarters of Bangkok this weekend. Spearheaded by MR Narisa Chakrabongse, the two-day event is a vibrant smorgasbord of literature, music, art, history and politics, anchored in the charming venues of Museum Siam, Chakrabongse Villas and Rajini School. There will be talks -- plenty of panels and discussions, on subjects ranging from "What Makes The Chao Phraya A World Monument?" to "The Power Of Slam Poetry", from "Populism, Religion and Neo-Nationalism In The 21st Century" to "Years Of Living Dangerously: A Woman's Take On War". The list of participants is starry, including writers, journalists, poets, historians and artists, Thai and international. Come evening, the lawn of Museum Siam will play host to film screenings (Pop Aye on Saturday and Citizen Dog on Sunday), as well as concerts by Hugo, Yena, Rasmee Isan Soul and more.

  • LIFE

    Beguiling, The Beguiled

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 26/05/2017

    » In Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled, a wounded Union soldier finds refuge in an all-girl school in battered Virginia. Housed in Gothic gloom as the gunfire from the Civil War rages, Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell), all handsome and hairy, stirs up the nervous calm of this feminine sanctuary, waking up all sorts of dormant urges in the women who take care of him. In that mansion lorded over by headmistress Martha (Nicole Kidman) and teacher Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), the longing turns dark, the adolescent hormones turns toxic, and the film progresses down the delicious path of black comedy and horror.

  • LIFE

    Pain, bluster, to no avail

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 17/03/2017

    » On paper this is a pantheon of contemporary French acting: Gaspard Ulleil, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Vincent Cassel and Natalie Baye. The director is Xavier Dolan, the Quebecois wunderkind who's had his five films premiered at Cannes at the age of just 27.

  • LIFE

    Cannes Film Fest opens today

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/02/2017

    » The 69th Cannes Film Festival opens today with Woody Allen's Cafe Society, and the world's most influential film festival will play out its drama until May 22. As the glamour and the art of cinema fill the airwaves, here are some of the talking points worthy of note as more reports from the Croisette will follow over the next 10 days.

  • LIFE

    At Cannes, humour makes a surprise visit

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/02/2017

    » Humour is hardly ever associated with Cannes competition films -- to win the Palme d'Or, for example, it's assumed a film should possess art house gravitas, serious humanity, or weighty, topical, discourse-stimulating subject matter (last year's winner, Dheepan, is about immigrants in Paris, and before that, the three-hour-long Turkish drama Winter Sleep).

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