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  • LIFESTYLE

    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.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Magical, musical tour

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 27/03/2015

    » In the documentary Y/Our Music, the rustic soundscape of the Northeast clashes with the hipster cool of Bangkok's indie music scene. But it's not a deadly, destructive clash, says co-director Waraluck Hiransrettawat Every, and instead is a sonic journey that shows the vast diversity of cultures and sensibilities, all driven by the positive energy of music.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Documenting Southeast Asian diversity

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 20/03/2015

    » Now in its fifth edition, Salaya International Documentary Film Festival brings you real-world immediacy and reflection that covers a wide gamut of subjects — from the aftermath of the communist purge in 1960s Indonesia to the housing woes in Singapore, from the ferry tragedy in Korea to a grand tour of the National Gallery in London. The festival (better known as Salaya Doc) begins tomorrow and runs until Mar 28 at the Film Archive in Salaya and the auditorium of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Pathumwan (BACC). Admission is free.

  • 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

    EU film fest brings many shades of modern Europe

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/05/2017

    » The stories of Europe are told in the 13 films at the European Union Film Festival 2017, which begins tonight at SF CentralWorld.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Doc lovers rejoice!

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 18/03/2016

    » It is high time for audiences who appreciate the rough-edged reality of documentary films. Of the five nominees of the Oscar for best documentary feature, three had a regular release in Bangkok cinemas (Amy, Cartel Land, The Look of Silence), something unthinkable a few years ago when no distributor wanted to risk showing non-fiction films in cinemas. Now there is almost always at least one documentary film at SF CentralWorld, with the initiation of the independent outfit Documentary Club (in the programme now is The Hunting Ground, about rape crimes in American universities).

  • 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

    Expanding the Asean screen

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 23/10/2015

    » Across Indochina the movie houses are bubbling with energy, and as the region's big brother in popular culture, Thai film is quick to tap into these growing markets. Some recent examples: The teen comedy May Who?, which came out here earlier this month, has just opened in Laos and Cambodia (with the same familiar posters, but with the wriggling scripts of the local languages).

  • LIFESTYLE

    Evocative hymn to Thai rice

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 23/01/2015

    » This is the film you simply have to see this weekend. Uruphong Raksasad's Pleng Khong Kao (The Songs Of Rice) is a lyrical poetry of image and sound, as beautiful as 19th-century pastoral paintings and as evocative as murmured hymns. In a compact 75 minutes, we see muddied beasts stomping the paddies and whirring tractors aglow with nocturnal eyes; we hear the chanting for the Rice Goddess and rhythmic windpipe numbers for the harvest dance. We even marvel, unlikely as it seems, at a zonk-out sci-fi rendition of a northeastern rocket festival, ablaze with fire and sparks and songs and joy.

  • LIFESTYLE

    Manila in the claws of corruption

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/02/2017

    » The Philippines has just voted in a new president, the strongman Rodrigo Duterte who vows to "kill" all criminals in his country. So the film Ma' Rosa, the sole Southeast Asian entry in Cannes competition this year, couldn't have arrived in a timelier fashion. The new work by Brillante Mendoza -- the chronicler of Manila's sordid underbelly -- takes place in the working-class neighbourhood of that sweltering capital, infested by garbage, crime and barefaced corruption. Duterte may flaunt his iron-fistedness to win votes, but the reality as depicted in this film tells a more complex story of people trapped in the rickety state justice system.

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