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  • News & article

    A hint of political maturation

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 25/09/2018

    » The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre has been put under bureaucratic pressure, its budget cut and its relations with Bangkok Metropolitan Authority strained. One way to support this hub of contemporary art in downtown Bangkok is simple: visit the place, admire the art and the events, and show that the city needs a modern, open-minded art and culture venue unshackled by the old guard.

  • News & article

    Saint and sensibility

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 16/05/2019

    » A Christian fable or a Marxist allegory? A magical-realist myth or a political cry against neoliberalism (or feudalism, which produces the same catastrophe anyway)?

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    The French Connection

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 09/05/2018

    » In the opening episode of Ten Years Thailand, a group of soldiers arrives at an art gallery to inspect a potentially subversive artwork. What constitutes a kernel of subversion, however, is hard to lay a finger on. So the story shifts: one of the soldiers begins to chat up a pretty maid, and as the Sun is setting the two of them look out from the gallery to the horizon full of shadows. Maybe of hope.

  • News & article

    Two grainy fists for resurrection

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/10/2018

    » Shot mostly in Thai prison, with a fair number of ex-cons as extras, A Prayer Before Dawn dives headfirst into the unfiltered squalor of prison life -- not the sociological or political dimension of state incarceration, but the physical, uncooked-meat kind of life in jail, particularly the Thai jail.

  • News & article

    Memories buried in soil

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 19/07/2019

    » Memories and war, illusory borders and invisible scars: These themes are resonant in two documentary films shown late last month at the SAC Film Festival (hosted by the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre). In the Thai documentary Din Rai Dan (Soil Without Land), a Tai Yai man in Shan state talks about his life as a waiter in Bangkok and as a soldier in his ethnic army. In the Vietnamese film The Future Cries Beneath Our Soil, a group of men in a rural village bear the indelible wounds of the Vietnam War, still stinging after 40 years.

  • News & article

    Truth and lies

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 11/05/2018

    » By some description, this is one of the most political editions of Cannes Film Festival in recent memory, both on screen and off. After three days, the brouhaha over #MeToo (the festival has a dedicated hotline for sexual harassment report, which begs the question: why here and now?), the comment by Jury President Cate Blanchett on the small percentage of female filmmakers in the programme, and the fact that two of the directors whose films are in the competition are under house arrest in their respective countries (Iran and Russia) -- all of this cast a mixed shadow over the 71st edition of the world's largest film festival that still boasts influence and glamour while struggling to maintain its relevance.

  • News & article

    Time is not on our side

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 25/01/2018

    » This is a note on an important Thai film that is unlikely to be shown in Thailand. Such is the fate of home-grown cinema in a time of disease, the time of a black hole.

  • News & article

    Sex, truth & politics

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 11/09/2017

    » In Uthis Haemamool's new novel, the protagonist's erotic adventure runs parallel to Thailand's political education. A man's carnal quests and sexual outbursts become, in a way, an allegory of a larger social context as the country goes through three coups d'etat and several convulsive protests in the past 25 years. The awakening of the loin as a metaphor for political orgasm, physical penetration as an analogy for abuses of power -- <i>Rang Haeng Pratana</i> (Silhouette Of Desire) is a novel that, Uthis admits, presents him with many risks as a writer.

  • News & article

    Rousing history from its slumber

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/01/2017

    » In the documentary Angkor Awakens, director Robert H. Lieberman condenses the past and present of Cambodia into 90 minutes. From the ruins of Angkor Wat to the Khmer Rouge horror and present-day testimonies, the film highlights the key episodes in the country's cultural and political development. And while the broad sweep may seem a little too broad at times, the film pulls a rabbit out of the hat with its extensive interview with strongman Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose reflections on the state of his country as well as his memory of the Khmer Rouge era become a centrepiece of the story.

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