Bangkok 2005

  • Brandon Wee


BANGKOK INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2005 At the government-bankrolled Bangkok International Film Festival's third edition (13-20 January 2005), it should not have been surprising that nationalism would be a perceptible current in its Thai Panorama program. What made this particularly poignant was the festival's unfortunate coincidence with the aftermath of South Asia's devastating tsunami - customarily, a time occasioned by the need for solidarity, or at the very least, the appearance that national interests matter. How are national interests articulated in Thai cinema? Certainly, they are not novel. Besides horror and transvestitism, Thai blockbusters have also been thematically marked by national pride and jingoism. The successes of Thanit Jitnukul's Bang Rajan (2000) and Chatrichalerm Yukol's 2001 Suriyothai are just two instances of period epics that chart Siamese solidarity and sacrifice against Burmese aggression. More recently, the martial arts gloss of Prachya Pinkaew's Ong-Bak (2003) largely eclipsed its portrayal of the Thai...