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  • News & article

    Guilt and sin minus the politics

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 20/04/2018

    » The squalor of Manila slums populated by high-school drug runners, then a chaotic precinct ruled by corrupt cops and even more corrupt chiefs -- these are the familiar turfs of Brillante Mendoza, the best-known Filipino filmmaker among international audiences.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    Toronto top picks

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 22/09/2017

    » A showcase of Oscar hopefuls and world cinema highlights, the film festival which wrapped up last weekend is one of the most influential in the world. Here are our highlights

  • News & article

    A trip to the other world

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/11/2016

    » A quick lowdown on Thai love motels: trashy lighting, soap-smelling beds, bad pillows, cheap porn on the TV and a trove of hush-hush secrets guarded by naked walls. Outside, the thick tarp curtains separate the public from the personal, the exposed from the invisible, the respectable from the randy. Inside, it is another world, a fantasy world, an alien world.

  • News & article

    Will the best films win the Oscars?

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 26/02/2016

    » The Oscar night is also the Oscar-bashing night. It was always the night (or morning, in our time zone) of constant bemoaning and condescension, because the Academy voters, like most voters, always get it wrong, at least to million others around the world who believe, in our collective delirium, that we have a stake in this pageant taking place somewhere in Los Angeles. Things have taken a turn for the worse with the snap judgement made possible by social media; now the outrage and disbelief are so raw since they're aired in real time, on Facebook and Twitter, like I did last year when I was convinced that it was against every law of nature that Birdman, a well-crafted display of pretension and self-obsession, won over the more delicate Boyhood.

  • News & article

    Terminator Genisys does not compute

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 03/07/2015

    » Hollywood's lusty obsession with reboots, retools, reloads, recasts and regeneration falls with a loud thud in Terminator Genisys, a clunky, messy, analogue-minded science fiction thriller that's hardly scientific or thrilling. If this is what the post-millennia Gen-Z audience have in terms of pop-cultural marquee, those above 35 can revel in the nostalgic romp of James Cameron's 1984 original, a far more intelligent and terrifying film about our fear of technology, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his star-making role, elevating robotic poker-face into a kind of acting scholarship.

  • News & article

    Mongkut, reinterpreted

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/03/2015

    » When Arin Rungjang learned of the art heist near Paris earlier this month, the Thai artist had good reason to feel concerned. At dawn on March 1, thieves broke into a high-security wing of the Chateau de Fontainebleau and made off with 15 priceless works of Asian art, including Phra Maha Mongkut Longya, a replica of a royal crown studded with rubies, pearls, emerald and diamonds. It was one of several royal tributes presented to Emperor Napoleon III by King Rama IV in 1861.

  • News & article

    The big picture: prizes vs popularity

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/03/2015

    » When Birdman won Best Picture at the Academy Awards last week, a New York Times headline read: "Oscars show growing gap between moviegoers and Academy", referring to the fact that a small, semi-art-house film that wasn't seen by many people received the industry's highest honour. The article goes on to quote film historian Philip Hallman, who says "most people have to finally accept that the Oscars have become elitist and not in step with anything that is actually popular".

  • News & article

    The dark side of wife

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 24/10/2014

    » In Fight Club (1999), David Fincher dishes out a mockery at male machoism, the sweat-soiled, hyperbole manliness manifest through smug violence and Brad Pitt's swagger. What happened, however, was that Fincher's stylish film somehow became a trophy movie for those he aimed his sarcasm at — the macho type adores the film, which isn't that surprising given how cool it is. Flash forward to what we have this week in cinemas worldwide, Gone Girl, a thriller that's probably replicating that curious logic in pop-culture destiny. The film about the absurdity of married life, a dark warning against the cost of domestic bliss, is perhaps a perfect date movie for happy or unhappy couples, since the film's extreme satire takes cover under the sharp, highly engaging narrative and storytelling heft. It's a film worth showing at every wedding anniversary, for entertainment, yes, and to remind the participants of their parts in their own personal movies.

  • News & article

    Wrestling the American nightmare

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 09/01/2015

    » Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher is perched between an American nightmare and a family tragedy, which from a vantage angle are probably undistinguishable. It's also a story of a love triangle, an unlikely kind, involving two brothers and another man who asserts himself (most notably his nose) between them. Splashed across the screen before the whole thing starts is the solemn declaration "based on a true story" — an old Hollywood habit of codifying history into truth and fiction into biography — though in this case, it works to add weight and shock to the narrative that follows.

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