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  • News & article

    Andalusian dreams

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 15/02/2024

    » Two Middle Eastern tourists looked excited as they held up a phone to an exquisitely carved arabesque in Nasrid Palace at the Alhambra. No, they're not taking photos. They're comparing the Arabic text on their screen with the 8th century stone calligraphy. I hear them mumble in Arabic -- here's the translation:

  • News & article

    Coldplay across the universe

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 07/02/2024

    » The latest Coldplay concert in Bangkok was a feat of photogenic spectacles designed to bedazzle, complete with light-blinking wristbands, sci-fi-warped animation on spherical screens, balloons in the shape of planets and exploding fireworks above the roof of Rajamangala National Stadium ("The football field not often used to play football on," as a Thai national squad member noted.)

  • News & article

    2023 ROUNDUP A vintage year for Thai cinema?

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 25/12/2023

    » There were cheers of jubilation and gasps of disbelief as Thai cinema found itself awash with excitement in 2023. This has been the most successful year for mainstream Thai movies in a decade, a box-office triumph far exceeding all expectations. To many, the 2023 coup de theatre calls for celebration. "We are back!" cried optimistic pundits. But also: "Really? Is it just a one-time cinema party and can we keep the ball rolling?"

  • News & article

    The afterlife of Mitr Chaibancha

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/10/2023

    » In an abrupt moment of life's brutal script, Mitr Chaibancha fell to his death from a helicopter ladder on Oct 8, 1970. He was filming Insee Thong (Golden Eagle), playing an anti-communist masked hero, when he slipped from the rung and plunged to the ground in Pattaya. That same evening, his body was transported to Wat Kae Nang Loeng. Thousands of people, unable to believe that Thailand's most famous actor was really, tragically dead, amassed impromptu at the temple and demanded that his corpse be raised from the coffin and shown to the public.

  • News & article

    Pita and the 'Myth of Sisyphus'

    Oped, Kong Rithdee, Published on 15/07/2023

    » 'The Gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight."

  • News & article

    Will gentrification respect city's people?

    Oped, Kong Rithdee, Published on 28/06/2023

    » We've lived for over a century in the shadow of grandeur: near the Customs House, known to Thais as rongpasi. "We" means my maternal family and the community of Haroon Mosque. Each day before sunrise, the muezzin's sing-song call rings through the neighbourhood, carried on the river wind towards the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the French Embassy and Assumption Cathedral.

  • News & article

    Hear her roar

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 26/05/2023

    » The image of a girl taking off her hijab is wrought with cinematic symbolism. Kamila Andini shows it in her Indonesian film Yuni (2021); Hesome Chemamah in his Thai short I'm Not Your F*cking Stereotype (2019); Ana Lily Amirpour in the Iranian vampire film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014). Subversion? Provocation? Liberation? At this year's Cannes Film Festival, we see that image in Amanda Nell Eu's Tiger Stripes, a work as playful as it is potent in its portrayal of adolescence and what it entails for a young woman's body.

  • News & article

    Gay cowboys and glorious flesh

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 19/05/2023

    » After the lukewarm opening film -- Maiwenn's Jeanne Du Barry, a fluffy costume drama starring Johnny Depp as King Louis XV -- the 76th Cannes Film Festival had its hottest ticket in a short film. Not just any short though: it's Pedro Almodovar's queer cowboy movie Strange Way Of Life, which saw patient festival-goers queuing up in the Rivera drizzle for nearly an hour to fill up even the worst seat of Salle Debussy on Wednesday.

  • News & article

    10 films to watch out for

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 16/05/2023

    » A fierce hijab girl, a Vietnamese pilgrimage, a Scorsese-DiCaprio team up and a new Cate Blanchett drama, Cannes Film Festival opens today with an eclectic taste of world cinema.

  • News & article

    Changing the narrative

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 02/09/2022

    » A man returns home from work in Malaysia after Covid-19 struck, then gets lost in a bureaucratic labyrinth trying to get government handouts. Another woman finds a job at a factory, but the rules require her to compromise her faith. In Yala, a skater boy sets out in search of a friendly park where he can enjoy his ride. A hijab-wearing K-pop fanatic is getting married to a man who has just converted to Islam. And in a Pattani family, a young man watches his mother being possessed by a spirit, possibly a black-magic attack from his business rival.

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