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  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • LIFESTYLE

    A note on Thailand Biennale

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 02/01/2019

    » One recent morning at Nopphrat Thara beach, the high tide flooded the lower part of a strange, interwoven structure. Rising from the blue water of the bay, it looked like an island, a new, unmapped island of Krabi visible from this popular spot where tourists visit and board tour boats to outlying islands.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Bismillah, Freddie will not let us go

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 02/11/2018

    » Freddie Mercury, played with an earnest commitment bordering on fetishism by Rami Malek in the biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody, is a rock star the likes of which we hadn't seen before the 1970s and haven't since: An Asian frontman of a British rock outfit, a four-octave opera lover who sang in leotards and thongs, a proud organiser of orgiastic jamborees, and a gay man who endeared himself to the hard-rock audience that, in all likelihood in those pre-diversity days, either failed to realise that their mustachioed rock-god was out-and-out queer or suppressed their suspicion so completely that they didn't feel any cognitive dissonance in their devotion to Queen. Even the name Freddie gave the band laid it all bare.

  • LIFESTYLE

    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

    A film festival devoted to refugee crises

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/12/2017

    » The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will host the 7th Refugee Film Festival Bangkok 2017, which runs from tomorrow until Dec 10 at Paragon Cineplex. Admission is free, but advanced registration is required at the UNHCR Facebook page.

  • 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?

  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • OPINION

    Wake me up when Thaiism rings true

    Oped, Kong Rithdee, Published on 10/02/2018

    » It has been widely translated as “Thainess”. But “Thainess” may not be accurate when describing Thai Niyom, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s latest catchphrase and sort-of policy. The correct term in English, I propose, should be “Thaiism”, just like populism ( Pracha Niyom), nationalism ( Chat Niyom), conservatism ( Anurak Niyom), authoritarianism ( Amnat Niyom), or alcoholism, you know, the excessive use of alcohol to drown out grief and the pain of broken promises.

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