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  • OPINION

    'Big' South film risks missing the ugly point

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/08/2012

    » I gasped, because it was the first time I'd seen an aircraft carrier in a Thai movie. Actually, it was just a trailer, and to stick to the cardinal rule of criticism, we won't judge a book by its cover or a prime minister by her dress. No matter how tempting it is.

  • LIFE

    Of love and meltdown

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/10/2013

    » Last year a Thai movie won the top prize at the Busan International Film Festival, Asia's leading cinema event. This year, two new home-grown films are in the competition _ here's a first look.

  • LIFE

    Romance among the ruins

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 19/09/2014

    » Love is a crumbling currency in the wistful, strangely affecting Pavang Rak (Concrete Clouds). Set in 1997, during the economic meltdown that burst our bubble and left urban carcases of unfinished skyscrapers, the film remembers the emotional inertia of that year and watches its characters drift like ghosts as they realise that even love — of all the catastrophes — can't give them salvation. There's voluptuous despair. There's a full cabinet of 1990s pop-cultural reminiscence, and there's the filmmaker's awkward strive to reconcile the narrative flow with his experimental impulses — and yet here's a Thai film that's as tender as it is bold. It's also a film about the mood (and not necessarily the actualities) of that fateful, uneasy moment of 17 years ago when the market crashed and our sense of the future dashed.

  • LIFE

    Short on action

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 21/11/2014

    » Poor Katniss Everdeen, your heart is pure but your fate isn't yours to decide, and while the working-class revolution explodes and the "we burn, you burn" rally echoes, you look on and wonder if you're a piece or a player, a pawn or a plotter.

  • LIFE

    Cinematic gems in competition

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/01/2015

    » The deadline is Oct 1, but more than 40 countries have already submitted their entries for the foreign-language film category at next year’s Academy Awards. Earlier this week, Thailand announced that its representative at the 2015 Oscars would be hit romantic comedy Kid Tueng Wittaya (Teacher’s Diary). The film, which focuses on two teachers and the indirect courtship they conduct via messages written in a diary hidden on a houseboat, was released earlier this year to a mixed critical reception but local box-office success. Life wishes its director, Nitiwat Tharatorn, the best of luck.

  • LIFE

    Journey of the guitar king

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 11/12/2015

    » A small documentary film opens in limited cinemas this week. Revisiting a chapter in the Thai music history that many people may have forgotten, The Guitar King tells the story of Lam Morrison, a Thai rock musician and the country's first guitar star in the late 1960s. A long-haired man in his 70s now, Lam honed his guitar skills playing in GI camps in Udon Thani during the Vietnam War, before playing at bars in Bangkok and even toured Germany and Norway.

  • OPINION

    Superficiality takes aim at Scala

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/06/2016

    » There is a mix of rage, gloom and longing as, once again, the fate of the Scala theatre in Siam Square is questioned. To wreck is easy, to save is hard. The jackhammer screeches louder than nostalgia. Will the Scala, that quaint majesty stuck in a prime retail area, that solemn granddaddy in the flashy, messy, heavily commercialised quarter, be next to fall?

  • LIFE

    A part of Myanmar's tapestry

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 24/06/2016

    » Even with the civilian government, the military is still untouchable in Myanmar -- at least in the movies. Last week state censorship banned the film Twilight Over Burma: My Life As A Shan Princess, an Austrian production about the real-life Austrian woman who met a Shan prince in the US, married him and moved to Burma before the 1962 military coup d'etat that brought everything down. The film, which was shot largely in Thailand and starring mostly German and Thai actors, was supposed to open the Human Rights Film Festival in Yangon last Tuesday.

  • OPINION

    All aboard for a 'Thai-Thai' referendum

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 23/07/2016

    » The word "Thai" means "free". But when you repeat the syllable and say "Thai-Thai" (with a dismissive laugh), suddenly it means "fake" -- it means we've bent whatever rule the world has to make it suitable to our temperament, emotion and impulse. For example, when you're not sure if your principle is solid, your stance firm, your democracy authentic, or your coup justified, there's a simple way to shut down the argument: just say it's baab Thai-Thai, "in the Thai way". Then, if everything is not forgiven, at least it's understood.

  • OPINION

    A tower of our glory, except the foreign bit

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 03/09/2016

    » I happened to be there at the opening of the sparkling corn-cob skyscraper, the trophy of high-capitalism and symbol of wealth. No fireworks at the launch of the MahaNakhon Tower, that would have been tacky, but we had the beam-me-up light dance and iridescent sky painting, cued to booming music. Jose Carreras sang arias.

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