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GreenCine Movie Talk
Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

Thai movies
Topic by: pitstain
Posted: May 15, 2003 - 8:34 PM PDT
Last Reply: October 11, 2003 - 9:57 AM PDT

author topic: Thai movies
pitstain
post #1  on May 15, 2003 - 8:34 PM PDT  
I was wondering if anyone could recomend any good Thai movies. I'm going there soon, and was hoping I could see some before I go.
I tend to like a lot of asian cinema, particularly japanese. All Takashi Miike movies are great, also Versus, Ringu and Battle Royale. Anything similar to that would be ideal. but I would appreciate recomedations of any Thai movies that are good. Movies that are on Greencine is also plus, but others are good too.


ps- is there a way to search for movies on greencine by where they're from?
dpowers
post #2  on May 15, 2003 - 10:15 PM PDT  
first, the best way to search by region is to choose "Foreign Language" from the "genre" popup menu to the left, then choose the language you want from "Foreign Language Subcategories." thai isn't listed there, though, yet.

here are the thai language movies, i think maybe all of them. (you can't really search for thai through the advanced search page. i just typed "thai" into the URL...)

second, i have less info on thai movies than i'd like but i think they're a little tough to find, on DVD or elsewhere. bangkok dangerous (and other movies by oxide and danny pang) and nang-nak both have okay reputations. mysterious object at noon probably tells a lot more about life in thailand.

the iron ladies is pretty funny.

also, not on greencine, mon-rak transistor. blisfully yours. mehkong full moon party. i-san special.

that's pretty much all i know!
dpowers
post #3  on May 15, 2003 - 10:18 PM PDT  
weird thing i can't figure out is why the advanced search page lets you search for "thai" as a subtitle language but not as a soundtrack. but, iron ladies didn't have subtitle language listed i just remembered that one.

oh and to everybody else reading, since pitstain's the one going to thailand, maybe we should give him dibs on putting the movies in his queue! (where's eoliano man, he'd rib me big for that quasi-suggestion...)
ColonelKong
post #4  on May 16, 2003 - 9:01 AM PDT  
I think the only Thai movie I've ever seen is Bangkok Dangerous, it's worth checking out if you're into HK cinema and a fan of Wong Kar-Wai, Johnnie To, etc. It may not be anything groundbreaking if you've seen enough HK cinema, but its sheer stylistic overload makes it interesting.

On a related note, I wonder if the Thai historical epic Suriyothai is getting a US release anytime soon. I heard something a long time ago about Francis Ford Coppola "presenting" the film in the US (he went to film school with the director, a Thai prince), but I haven't heard anything lately. I've looked for an import disc of Suriyothai but I haven't been able to find one, has anyone here seen it?

dpowers
post #5  on May 16, 2003 - 9:09 AM PDT  
this press page from the SFIFF says legend of suriyothai is being distributed in the US by sony pictures classics. probably means it's coming out this year.
AKrizman
post #6  on May 16, 2003 - 6:59 PM PDT  
The only Thai movie I've ever seen is Fear Faith Revenge 303, and I can't say that I'd recommend it.

It's a standard ghost and Ouija board story, and a rather bland one at that (or at least there's nothing in it that's intense enough to impress a Takashi Miike fan). It didn't offer insight into the geography or culture of Thailand either; it's set entirely on a campus of an elite all boys private school.

msilenus
post #7  on May 17, 2003 - 10:05 AM PDT  
I have always been interested in checking out some Indonesian horror/fantasy movies. Especially Mystics In Bali. Im not sure if Greencine has any of them or wether any of them are available here in the States. If anyone has any info it would be greatly appreciated :) -MS
pitstain
post #8  on May 19, 2003 - 8:35 PM PDT  
Thanks for all the suggestions! they are very helpful.
i will continue to check this discussion so keep posting if you have any more.
ColonelKong
post #9  on May 20, 2003 - 7:58 AM PDT  
Legend of Suriyothai Quicktime trailer:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony/legend_of_suriyothai.html
harrizonn
post #10  on July 13, 2003 - 6:51 AM PDT  
mysterious object at noon probably tells a lot more about life in thailand.


i just rented this... it's really beautiful.

i loved it.

steven
manfarang
post #11  on October 11, 2003 - 9:57 AM PDT  
As a very new member of the GreenCine family, I'm obviously coming to this discussion late, but here's my contribution for what it's worth.

First off, some of the Thai films that GreenCine does have:

Bangkok Dangerous - a fairly decent film about a young deaf Thai hitman who falls in love and meets his inevitable fate.

Fear Faith Revenge 303
- my Thai friend Teep's review was, "Not good, not bad." Basically, a run-of-the-mill ghost/slasher movie set in an English-style prep school in Thailand. (I believe that the actual title is "303 Fear Faith Revenge.")

The Iron Ladies (Satree Lex) - an amusing film based on the true story of how a team composed primarily of Thai ladyboys won the 1996 Thailand National Volleyball Championship. The gay portrayals are over-the-top but I don't think the film makers meant to be insulting. I've bought the sequel called - surprise - Iron Ladies 2, but haven't viewed it yet.

Nang-Nak - an entertaining, leisurely-paced Thai love/ghost story (the female and male leads in this film are both stunningly attractive)

Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
- not a film made by Thai, but a 1927 silent film (from Merian C. Cooper, who later went on to make the original King Kong) set in then Siam chronicling the story of a Siamese family eeking out a living in the jungle. This is NOT a documentary - the scenes involving tiger attacks and elephant stampedes are obviously staged - but still a very interesting, enjoyable film. (Incidentally, "chang" means elephant in Thai.)

Now, some of the other Thai films that can be bought in Thailand or from some of the Asian DVD websites. The best site that I have found for buying Thai videos is www.eThaiCD.com. Some of these films will play on American DVD players, some will require a region-free player that can also convert from PAL. Prices for most films are quite reasonable, but unfortunately titles go out-of-print rather quickly.

Tears of the Black Tiger (Fah Talai Jone) has gained a cult-following around the world, although it was a major dud in Thailand itself. (My Thai friends prefer American action films.) It's a bit hard to describe, but basically it's a stylized new wave Thai noodle western that is an homage to old-style Thai movies whose style was much like that of the older Bollywood films with vivid, unlifelike colors. (Tears actually came out in 2000.) It is a very funny, enjoyable film with a catchy score and intentionally campy acting. My main complaint with the film (and I'm probably in the minority on this) is with its gratuitous violence - the "hero" is involved directly or indirectly in the bloody deaths of scores of Thai policemen, and I couldn't quite laugh off the deaths as "cartoonish" as some reviewers did. Still, overall, Tears it is one of my favorite films and not to be missed. I don't think that there is an official North American DVD available yet, but I believe that all other DVD versions include English subtitles. I think the director also directed Monrak Transistor.

For martial arts fans, Ong-Bak is a must see. In terms of action, this film stands equal to the best martial arts films. Newcomer Phanom Yeerom is a phenomenal muay thai (actually, he practices muay barong) fighter and gymnast - none of his stunts involve the use of wires or computer graphics. The plot is negligible, and since there are no subtitles on the DVD or VCD, it's a good thing that the dialogue is wholly unnecessary to understand what's going. Antiquities thieves steal the head of a small village's Buddha statue, so young Tingboon (Yeerom) is sent to the big city (Bangkok) to retrieve it, and then he kicks ass for the rest of the movie until he gets the head back. Of course there are the usual country mouse in the big city comedic scenes. Highlights include a wild foot chase through the alleys and street markets of Bangkok and a terrific chase scene involving dozens of tuk-tuks (the 3-wheeled Thai taxis) racing and crashing through the streets of the Big Mango, although anyone who has been stuck in the perpetual Bangkok traffic jam knows that that scene is pure fantasy. As I mentioned, there doesn't appear to be as yet a DVD version with English subtitles - I think some Hong Kong firm is planning on releasing that version - although the film was shown in Thai theatres with English subtitles. Go figure.

The Legend of Suriyothai is the big epic that was released this summer in the US. The original running length was over 5 hours and is available in non-subtitled DVD and VCD versions. (There was subtitled version available for awhile, but it was pulled a few months before the release of the international version.) I think the version that ran in most Thai theatres was about 3 1/2 hours. Director Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol asked his friend Francis Ford Coppola to edit the film for overseas release. I haven't seen the film, but understand that the shorter versions are (understandably) a bit confusing,

Bang Rajan is the Thai epic that preceded Suriyothai. Again, Thai vs. Burmese. Lot's of blood and lopped off limbs and heads. I only have a VCD version (no subtitles), but I could swear that at one time I saw a subtitled DVD version available somewhere.

Jan Dara is a rather steamy (for Thai films) melodrama that I enjoyed. It is subtitled, but the version I own has all the menus written in Thai so it took me a bit of experimenting to find the English subtitle option.

Saving Private Tootsie is another one of Thailand's "gay" comedy/dramas that comes with English subtitles. Like The Iron Ladies films, the gay stereotypes are not at all subtle and may offend some.

999-9999 is a fairly decent slasher film that IS available in a subtitled version. It has some nice twists, but these type of films aren't really my favorite genre.

Krai Thong is a laughable monster movie featuring a magical crocodile that spends alot of time devastating small Thai villages. If there were an English version, it would be worthy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.

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