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Thai Film Festival - 'Bangkok: Cinema City' - BANGKOK DANGEROUS & 6IXTYNIN9

Thai Film Festival - 'Bangkok: Cinema City' - BANGKOK DANGEROUS & 6IXTYNIN9

Exciting Films from Thailand with English subtitles Friday, June 4 - Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
7:30 PM - 11:00 PM
James Bridges Theater
Melnitz Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Wednesday, June 9
7:30 pm
BANGKOK DANGEROUS (Krung Thep Antharai) (2000) 
Directed by Oxide and Danny Pang

A virtuosic exercise in pan-Asian neo-noir and action aesthetics, BANGKOK DANGEROUS lifted the co-directing Pang brothers to international prominence and heralded the resurgence of the Thai film industry.  Centered around a classic silent assassin—deaf-mute hitman Pawarith Monkolpisit—the plot traces an iconic pattern as the inscrutable hero seeks redemption in the arms of an innocent pharmacy clerk (Premsinee Ratanasopha) but is ultimately thrust back onto a path of retributive violence.  Hyperkinetic in the manner of Hong Kong maestros John Woo and Wong Kar-wai, BANGKOK DANGEROUS thrives on rapid-fire cutting, skewed angles and restless camera moves—stylistic effects that brilliantly convey the pulse, the romance and, of course, the seductive danger of the titular Thai capital.

Producer: Nonzee Nimibutr. Screenwriters/Editors: O. Pang, D. Pang. Cinematographer: Decha Seemanta. With: Pawarith Monkolpisit, Premsinee Ratanasopha, Patharawarin Timkul, Pisek Intrakanchit. 35mm, in Thai with English subtitles, 105 min.
Los Angeles Premiere
6IXTYNIN9 (1999) 

Directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang

What would you do if a box stuffed full of cash mysteriously appeared at your front door?  When this actually happens to the introverted Tum, she finds the right answer isn’t so simple.  Thanks to the Asian financial crisis, she was rudely laid off the day before.  Easy money, of course, is never what it seems, and director Pen-ek Ratanaruang crafts a tight, darkly comic thriller around the escalating chaos set off by Tum’s ethical hesitation.  Before she can decide what to do, a parade of drug dealers, cops and nosy neighbors converge on her cramped apartment with Pen-ek whipping up as much absurdity as vertiginous suspense when Tum finds herself at the center of an all-out gang war.
Producer/Screenwriter: Pen-ek R. Cinematographer: Chankit Chamnivikaipong. Editor: Patamanadda Yukol. With: Lalita Panyopas, Tasanawalai Ongartittichai, Black Phomtong, Sritao. 35mm, in Thai with English subtitles, 114 min.
All films screen at the James Bridges Theater in Melnitz Hall, located on the northeast corner of the UCLA campus, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hilgard Avenue.
Tickets are available at the theater one hour before showtime.  Admission is $7 general, $5 students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members with ID.  Kids’ Flicks general admission is $5.
NOTE:  Advance tickets for all programs are available for $8 at www.cinema.ucla.edu.
Parking is available adjacent to the James Bridges Theater in Lot 3 for $7; there is free parking on Loring Ave. after 6:00 p.m. daily. 
INFO:  www.cinema.ucla.edu / 310.206.FILM.
From Lonely Planet backpacking paradise to the Patpong nightlife, Thailand conjures up a panoply of images in the Western imagination.  On our theater screens, it has provided the exotic backdrop for both secret agent derring-do (the James Bond of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and TOMORROW NEVER DIES) and pothead misadventure (Leonardo DiCaprio in THE BEACH).  It has repeatedly doubled as its Southeast Asian neighbors Cambodia and Vietnam in Anglo-American revisitings of Indochinese wartime traumas (THE KILLING FIELDS; GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM; CASUALTIES OF WAR).  What Thailand didn’t have until fairly recently was farang (foreign) cognizance of its indigenous cinema.
Fortunately, perceptions are changing as Bangkok has emerged as the locus of the latest Asian film renaissance to win local audiences along with critical accolades at film festivals worldwide.  This “City of Angels,” as the Thai capital is also known to its 9 million-plus denizens, is where Thailand’s film culture is centered.  The new generation of Thai filmmakers—many of whom moved to feature filmmaking from music videos and advertising, and whose exuberant intensity and fresh takes on genre have revivified well-worn commercial formulae—is concentrated in Bangkok.  Here as well are the studios and financiers behind the country’s recent moviemaking and cineplex-building boomlet.
Like the other “City of Angels” across the Pacific, Bangkok’s bustling metropolis has given its own noir bite to film depictions of its urban underbelly.  On these mean streets, even the loner anti-heroes of THE TESSERACT and BANGKOK DANGEROUS—films replete with the rapid-fire editing favored by the Bangkok-based/Hong Kong-born Oxide and Danny Pang—can’t go far without bumping up against the real-life congestion of the city.  (Witness as well the climactic traffic jam in the brothers’ tale of spirit haunting, THE EYE.)  Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang, on the other hand, gives overcrowding a whole new meaning in his drolly perverse crime caper-meets-bedroom farce, 6IXTYNIN9.
MY GIRL and BEAUTIFUL BOXER affirm contemporary Thai cinema’s tolerant view of gender difference and transgendered identity.  The former’s humorous telling of how a young boy learns how not to be a girl proved a huge hit with Thai moviegoers last year.  BEAUTIFUL BOXER meanwhile remolds the kratoey (transvestite), a popular comic figure on Thai TV and movies, into an unambiguously dramatic character.  A landmark film whose 1999 release signaled the beginning of the current renaissance, NANG NAK offers another of the country’s cinematic staples, the scary ghost story that is actually a Buddhist fable.
Finally, the widely acclaimed first and second features by Thailand’s leading independent filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul meander from the alleyways of Bangkok to the idyllic countryside bordering Burma.  MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON is a spellbinding experiment in narrative structure and form, while BLISSFULLY YOURS deftly parlays the passing of the hours one sunny afternoon into an exquisite meditation on the existential truism of our times—the dwelling across boundaries, nationalities, cultures and, yes, artistic practices.

Parking is available adjacent to the James Bridges Theater in Lot 3 for $7; there is free parking on Loring Ave. after 6:00 p.m. daily.

Cost : $8 in advance; $7 & $5 at the door.


Sponsor(s): , Film and Television Archive, Royal Thai Consulate General of Los Angeles