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  • LIFE

    All in the family

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 14/06/2018

    » You know you're walking into a horror movie, but the brilliance of Ari Aster's Hereditary is the way it deftly hides its cards and stacks up mystery upon mystery, secret upon secret, madness upon madness, until everything unravels in demonic hellfire. The film ticks all the familiar elements of a ghost story -- a dead grandma, a spooky house, a grave robbery, a candlelit seance where spirits are summoned, a sleepwalker roaming the dim corridor, an occult sign written on the wall, a couple of headless corpses, etc -- but Hereditary rises above the genre formula with its coolly composed formalism, its deliberate pacing, and its sly psychological manipulation that almost convinces us at certain points that this is more of a domestic drama than a horror movie.

  • LIFE

    A surprise behind the door

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 09/03/2018

    » The house sits deep in the woods, near a cemetery staked with tombstones. The family consists of a father, reeling in debt, and his four children, the eldest 22 and the youngest six. The mother is ill, ashen-faced, bedridden, and she'll jingle the brass bell in her hand to summon help. That jingling bell, and the apparition of a woman in a white gown in the mother's gloomy bedroom, will signal the cue of many jump-scares in the tale that unfolds.

  • LIFE

    Hoping to take the top prize East

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 16/05/2018

    » Asian filmmakers have so far fielded a strong force at the 71st Cannes Film Festival, and when the Palme d'Or is decided on Saturday by the Cate Blanchett-led jury there's a real chance that the top prize might go to one of the Asian titles -- after a Turkish film in 2014 (Winter Sleep) and a Thai film back in 2010 (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives).

  • LIFE

    Mama's boy

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 05/09/2014

    » Mining your own family for stories is a convenient and sometimes painful process. Vorakorn Ruetaivanichkul turned his camera toward his mother, who tried to commit suicide years ago. That pilot project later became a 60-minute film that mixes home movie footage, documentary re-enactment and fantasy sequences. Mother was Vorakorn's graduation film at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in 2010, and now it will be released at House RCA on Sept 11.

  • LIFE

    The inciting incident

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/10/2017

    » On Sept 24, 1976, two electricians were beaten and hanged to death from the top of a gate somewhere in Nakhon Pathom, victims of an escalating right-wing terror in Thai politics of that heady decade. Two weeks later, as protests against the return to the Kingdom of former dictator Gen Thanom Kittikajorn gathered steam, students at Thammasat University staged a play about the hanging of the two men. Soon the photographs of the play were used by nationalists to whip up anger and fear of communism, which led to the massacre on the morning of Oct 6 as police and militias laid siege to the university, killing, maiming and brutalising scores of people in one of the worst incidents of bloodshed in modern Thai history.

  • LIFE

    Doc lovers rejoice!

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/03/2016

    » It is high time for audiences who appreciate the rough-edged reality of documentary films. Of the five nominees of the Oscar for best documentary feature, three had a regular release in Bangkok cinemas (Amy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence), something unthinkable a few years ago when no distributor wanted to risk showing non-fiction films in cinemas. Now there is almost always at least one documentary film at SF CentralWorld, with the initiation of the independent outfit Documentary Club (in the programme now is The Hunting Ground, about rape crimes in American universities).

  • LIFE

    All eyes on Asia

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 05/10/2018

    » Asia's premier cine-event took off last night. The 23rd Busan International Film Festival once again draws all attention to the South Korean port city as it hosts the annual showcase of films, especially Asian films. One part to promote the South Korean film industry -- a formidable machine of creativity and commerce -- and one part to reign as a centre of filmmaking activity in this part of the world, Busan has gone through some bumps, political and managerial, but remains steadfast in being in the biggest in Asia.

  • LIFE

    Soulful, sorrowful, tragic

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 28/08/2015

    » Amy is a biographical documentary of the singer Amy Winehouse, but it is also a horror film. Watching it is like watching a ghost, a confused, tortured ghost of a woman who has boundless talent in singing and none in living. As we watch Amy Winehouse -- in home video footage, concert recordings, TV interviews, etc -- it hits us that we're watching her being killed slowly at every passing minute; killed by herself, her addiction, and by the cruel ecosystem of the fame industry that feeds first on her gift then more voraciously on her downfall. This is one of the best documentary films this year, and in some parts it's also one of the hardest to watch.

  • LIFE

    Room roams from director's tight rein

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 05/02/2016

    » In Room, Brie Larson plays a mother who raises her five-year-old child in the confinement of a room after she has been kidnapped and locked up by a sex abuser. The scenario here is cinematic and psychological: the "room" represents the entire existence that the boy has known since birth, and the mother-son dynamic is regulated by the physical parameters of the place, which in turn define their perceptions of life. To everyone else, the room is prison. To the boy, it is the world.

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