Full report from the Bangkok International Film Festival
5th Mar 06
Eat My Brains dipped its, ahem, brains in a global pool of international screenings recently with Soulmining’s exclusive visit to the Bangkok International Film Festival which took place in Thailand from 17th – 27th February.
Since it was launched in 2003, BKKIFF has become one of the most important, high-profile film festivals and film markets in Asia. BKKIFF accomplishes this by bringing together the best and the brightest in global cinema to Bangkok, Thailand, the undisputed crossroads of Asia. With a line up of unparalleled variety and quality thanks to an ever-growing roster of world-class films, numbering over 150 films alone in 2005, BKKIFF has garnered widespread recognition and respect throughout the industry.
Launching this year’s festival was psycho-thriller Invisible Waves, the latest film from Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Last Life In The Universe) which again sees him working with renowned cinematographer Christopher Doyle and actor Tadanobu Asano.
Asano (Ichi The Killer, Zatoichi) stars as a hard-working chef living in Macau who inadvertently kills his girlfriend and is then consumed with guilt. To escape both his turmoil and possible arrest, he travels to Thailand only to discover that the troubles of his former life follow him. On the journey he befriends an attractive young woman (played by Gang Hy Jung from Oldboy and Lady Vengeance), but he soon discovers that his supposed friends are not to be trusted and he is in serious danger. Not only does he have to battle his feelings of guilt, but also the more immediate threat to his life.
In addition to opening the 2006 BKKIFF, Invisible Waves was also selected for the Official Competition, where top honours were awarded for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Also in competition was the aforementioned Lady Vengeance from director Chan-woon Park which took the Best Director prize.
Other films screening of interest to genre fans included Thai horrors Dorm, The Ghost Of Mae Nak and Art Of The Devil 2 which won the Jameson’s Peoples Choice Award, and a couple of European thrillers in the shape of Murk and The Intruder.
BKKIFF also featured a number of special events including masterclasses with directors Terry Gilliam and Oliver Stone plus talks from Willem Dafoe and Dracula himself, the legendary Christopher Lee. Throw in a Thai directors panel and a press conference to launch the latest Asian horror anthology Black Night and you’ve got yourself quite a festival!
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