Modern and classics at World Film Fest

Modern and classics at World Film Fest
Victor Silakong, left, director of the World Film Festival of Bangkok, with filmmaker Krissada Tipchaimeta, centre.

Acclaimed new movies and classics of world and Thai cinema will be shown during the 12th World Film Festival of Bangkok, running from October 17 to 26 at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld.

A highlight is "The Blue Room" by French actor-director Mathieu Amalric, in which a couple, secretly in love with each other, are alone in a room. It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Closer to home, there's "Ice Poison" by up-and-coming Myanmar director Midi Z, who looks at the fast-changing culture of his country. And there's auteur Tsai Ming-liang's latest, "Journey to the West", which takes his infamous slow-walking monk (Lee Kang-sheng) to Marseilles.

In a bid to boost local audiences, the fest will feature Thai subtitles on many films, said festival director Victor Silakong during a press conference yesterday at SF World Cinema.

"This is the first time Thai subtitles have been provided," Victor said. In all, 20 of the fest's 59 entries will be Thai-subbed, including "Ice Poison" and the Sundance-winning musical drama "Whiplash" from the US. English subtitles will also be provided, as usual.

For its 12th edition, the festival aims to embrace the knowledge, technology, beliefs and creativity of the digital era - notions Victor said are best reflected in "Goodbye to Language", a 3D experimental effort by Jean-Luc Godard, one of the world's most influential filmmakers.

An earlier Godard effort, 1965's "Pierrot Le Fou", is among the world-cinema classics to be screened, along with the complete version of sci-fi landmark "Metropolis".

The opener will be the heart-warming Thai documentary "Somboon", in which director Krissada Tipchaimeta chronicles the lives of an elderly couple as illness overtakes them.

The festival's annual Lotus Award for lifetime achievement, will go to actor-director Pisan Akraseranee. Particularly active during the 1980s, his best-known works include "Monrak Asoon" and "Rak Oei".

French animation will be in the spotlight with selections that include "A Cat in Paris" by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, and "The Congress" by Ari Folman.

The festival also continues its support of the region's filmmakers with the Produire au Sud workshop. Two Thai projects will compete for backing - "Arnold is a Model Student" directed by Sorayos Prapapan and produced by Donsaron Kovitvanitcha from Thailand and "Orn" directed and produced by Thammaruja Dharmasaroja.

And, for the first time, the World Film Festival will have a touring programme, heading to Khon Kaen from November 7 to 10, Pattaya from November 13 to 16 and Chiang Mai from November 20 to 23.

Tickets cost Bt120 (S$5), and the festival is offering 500 special packages in which viewers pick five movies for Bt500.

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