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  • News & article

    Avoiding bogeymen and the religious police

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 14/10/2016

    » Tehran in the 1980s, at the height of the Iran-Iraq War and a few years after the Islamic Revolution convulses the life of Iranians. In a middle-class apartment, young mother Shideh lives with her husband, a medical doctor, and their daughter Dorsa. Their lives are punctuated by the sound of sirens and shelling, their windows taped up to shield vibrations. One day, the father is drafted to fight in the escalating war, and Shideh is left with Dorsa in the house where strange beings lurk. The neighbours begin to talk about djinn, the devilish beings in the Middle Eastern belief, and soon Dorsa's doll goes missing and the girl begins to talk to invisible people.

  • News & article

    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.

  • News & article

    Desolation row

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 19/08/2016

    » Ripping through lonesome plains and highway desolation, two Texan brothers set out to rob banks that, technically, have been robbing their family for years. Tanner and Toby (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) are siblings at different ends of the spectrum: the first a wild coyote, a jittery flask of criminal energy; the second a melancholic fox, handsome, sad and serious.

  • News & article

    A copy of his mind

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 22/04/2016

    » In the Indonesian film A Copy Of My Mind, a pirate DVD seller falls in love with a salon worker. Two working-class lovers struggling in a vast city, their relationship is just as heated as the smoke-choking street of Jakarta, and around them looms the tense shadow of politics as a presidential election nears.

  • News & article

    The late, late show

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 13/06/2016

    » Normally prime time for television is 8-11pm or thereabouts, the period when the family gathers to watch news and series while having dinner. So it will come as a surprise to many that for Muslim audiences during this month of Ramadan, prime time for television is closer to a graveyard shift -- 3-4.30am, deep in the night while most people are asleep -- as families wake up for the pre-dawn meal before a full day of fasting.

  • News & article

    Stolen moments

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

    » In Kongdej Jaturanrasmee's new film Snap, a wedding photographer returns to his hometown in Chantaburi with a group of high school friends. In that picturesque small town, Boy (Tony Rakkaen) takes happy prenuptial pictures of his old flame Phueng (Waruntorn Paonil), who's marrying a high-ranking soldier. That word, "soldier", carries a weight so leaden here: Snap is a soulful romance about a man searching for lost time, but the film is contextualised as a personal aftermath of the larger social tremors, namely the military coups d'etat of 2006 and 2014.

  • News & article

    Sleep, dreams, splendour

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

    » In Apichatpong Weerasethakul's new film, the ghosts are awake and the people are asleep. A war is being fought, but that war is invisible. Above the ground, soldiers are sleeping. Underneath, an ancient graveyard hums. At the centre of it all is a middle-aged lady, her leg damaged, her dreams interrupted, her memory luminous. She stares into the past, or maybe the future, and what she glimpses, in that limbo between sleep and life, is a cemetery of splendour.

  • News & article

    Ones to watch

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

    » Clear your schedule for Bangkok's main film event: The World Film Festival of Bangkok, which returns next week for its 13th edition, with a buffet of over 50 movies showing at SF CentralWorld from Nov 13-22.

  • News & article

    Colonia misses mark

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 22/04/2016

    » Chile, 1973. General Augusto Pinochet stages a coup against the democratically elected Salvadore Allende and rounds up radicals, opponents, students and left-wing activists. That's the story we all know. In the film Colonia, German director Florian Gallenberger turns our attention to a sidebar -- the rise of Pinochet mirrored by the dark faux-Christian cult led by an ex-Nazi, headquartered in a fenced-off commune in a rural setting and specialising in brainwashing young people into mindless zombies. The dictatorship of the state fuels the dictatorship of the mind, and vice versa. It should have been a good story, only that, as told here, it is not.

  • News & article

    Scala doc to open film festival

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 25/03/2016

    » Our cinematic monument of majesty, the last palatial cinema house in town, the Scala on Siam Square stands alone in defiance and melancholy as a remnant of a different era. As its fate -- the spectre of eventual demolition -- keeps popping up in the news every few years, the movie house is now the subject of a documentary film. The Scala, directed by Aditya Assarat, is part of a pan-Asia ensemble called The Power Of Asian Cinema that will screen as the opener of the 6th Salaya International tomorrow.

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