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  • News & article

    Staying afloat on a sea of despair

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 13/12/2019

    » Chakra (Sarm Heng) is a Cambodian peasant boy who wants to escape a rural existence that offers him no future. "How's Thailand?" he asks a friend who returns from working at a construction site in Bangkok. "If you work hard, there's no problem," his friend assures him. Through trafficking agents, Chakra is smuggled across the border, but instead of being sent to a factory or a construction site, the boy is thrown onto a fishing trawler and forced to work without pay in conditions resembling a floating prison.

  • News & article

    Be my guest

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 13/12/2019

    » Some arrived by boat, others by air. Some came when the British still ruled their homeland, others were driven by the bloodshed of The Partition. Some came with numerous gods, others with the one and only Allah. Some came from near Bombay, others from in and around Madras. Some came with the intention of returning, others arrived knowing that there was no going back.

  • News & article

    View from the Far South

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/12/2019

    » Young men lie face-down on the floor, their hands tied at the back. Uniformed officers punch and kick them. "Squeeze in!" they shout at the men on the ground. More kicks, more punches.

  • News & article

    Quentin's Hollywood, circa 1969

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 13/09/2019

    » Not everything ended in the year 1969. Not every sunshiny starlet died gruesomely in her own Cielo Drive villa at the hands of crazed hippies. And not every potbellied actor, fading cowboy and washed-up stunt double bit the Hollywood dust kicked up by the changing of the guard and the closing of that heady decade. Not, at least, in Quentin Tarantino's affectionate, good-humoured, and surprisingly elegiac film about Hollywood and its oddball residents.

  • News & article

    Through the prism of history

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/10/2019

    » The book's title is printed on its spine: Prism Of Photography: Dispersion Of Knowledge And Memories Of The 6 October Massacre. Thereafter, from the first page on, we have only photographs with no captions.

  • News & article

    Sexy, savage spy

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/08/2017

    » The Berlin kitsch of the late 1980s -- neon galore, rave clubs, Communist chic -- serves up a gaudy backdrop to the Cold War violence and betrayals in Atomic Blonde. Charlize Theron, in a wardrobe as striking as it is tongue-in-cheek, plays Lorraine Broughton, a hard-boiled British spy sent to West Germany to retrieve a valuable top-secret list.

  • News & article

    Human traffic

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 03/11/2017

    » Edmund Yeo started writing the film Aqerat before the word "Rohingya" would make world news headlines -- entirely for a distressing reason. Now the Malaysian film, which had its premiere in the main competition of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival this week, has proved prescient as over 500,000 of Myanmar's Rohingya minority have fled violence for Bangladesh in one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in years.

  • News & article

    A look at prison muay Thai

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 24/05/2017

    » Thailand is splashed across the main screen of the Cannes Film Festival this year. A Prayer Before Dawn is not a Thai film, but this UK-France production takes place entirely in Thailand -- precisely in the rancid, violence-prone prison where inmates are crammed into small dormitories and fight to stay alive. Based on a book by ex-convict William Moore, who spent years at Klong Prem Prison for selling ya ba, the film, directed by Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, is an intense look at hard life in the hellhole, before Moore (played by British actor Joe Cole) finds redemption in the prison's muay Thai boxing programme.

  • News & article

    Humanity!

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 13/01/2017

    » Mankind is doomed. We're hard-wired to be selfish, paranoid, prone to violence. We like war, among us humans or with the alien. What may redeem us, however, is compassion, generosity, language, love, grace, and so on -- all those teary-eyed emotions that is sometimes called "lyrical" in a movie. Or simpler, what may save us is a last-act manipulation of time and plot points, a wily trick nonetheless pulled off smoothly through the moving performance by Amy Adams.

  • News & article

    Lots to love about The Hateful Eight

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 08/01/2016

    » In the stewpot of Quentin Tarantino's tough-to-chew ingredients: graphic violence, racial animosity (if not racist hyperbole), linguistic provocation (counting the "n" word has become a sort of a game), indulgence in profanity and political incorrectness of all stripe, then in The Hateful Eight, the nearly three-hour-long film is largely set in just one room. Heads smashed, women bashed, scrotum busted, black-man-white-man paranoia in full display -- the director's well-oiled strategy is to couch his exploitation exercise in cynical black comedy and gabby digressions -- those delicious, funny, grandiloquent lectures on history and justice that he lately seems to favour.

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