I had an amusing start to the day when I decided to take breakfast at the Coffee World stand up in the festival HQ where I ordered a coffee and waffle. I was the sole customer. I took a seat and the girl brought my coffee over, but ten minutes passed and I was still waffle-less. I caught her eye and the penny dropped, so five minutes later she finally appeared with my waffle - "I'm sorry, I am forgetful," she apologised. You gotta wonder how she'll get on if there's ever a queue of people waiting to order...
My first film of the day was a Danish thriller Murk (4 stars) about a journalist who is investigating the apparent suicide of his sister. A slow but engrossing drama, the plot twisted and turned repeatedly, switching the sympathies of each character... very much in the same vein as other European thrillers like Insomnia, Antibodies or The Vanishing, this was a good - if bleak - start to the day.
Having met lead actress Siraphun Wattanajinda on Friday I thought it only fair that I check out her movie, Dear Dakanda (4 stars). It proved to be a welcome contrast from all the dark thrillers I've seen lately, being a really heart-warming romantic drama and perhaps the best Thai film I've seen throughout the festival.
Black Night photo call
Mid-afternoon saw a press conference for the latest pan-Asian horror compendium Black Night which has just finished post-production and will be released across Asia in April.
The film comprises three short stories: Next Door (Hong Kong) directed by Patrick Leung (The Twins Effect II), a story about love, betrayal and tragedy during the July lunar ghost festival, starring Annie Liu, Dylan Kuo and Race Wong; Dark Hole (Japan) directed by Takahiko Akiyama (Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within), a story of a young bride-to-be besieged by nightmares whose childhood memories threaten to sabotage her upcoming marriage, starring Asako Seto, Takashi Kashiwabara and Tomorowo Taguchi; The Lost Memory (Thailand) directed by Thanit Jitnukul (Bang Rajan), a story about a single mother and her son whose happiness is threatened by a mysterious stranger, starring Pitchanart Sakhakorn, Kajonsak Ratananisai and Nutsha Bootsri.
The producers and directors talked about the genesis of the project but were completely overshadowed by members of the cast who were beseiged by the local media and fans.
Black Night directors - Patrick Leung, Thanit Jitnukul & Takahiko Akiyama
Black Night cast - Kajonsak Ratananisai, Nutsha Bootsri, Pitchanart Sakhakorn, Annie Liu & Dylan Kuo
My final film of the day was Dorm (3 stars), the latest Thai horror production which is released nationwide this coming weekend. I enjoyed the film but was rather puzzled by the marketing campaign which is clearly aimed at a horror audience, when in actual fact the movie is more a coming-of-age drama about friendship which just happens to feature a ghostly character.
The director was on hand for a lively Q&A after the screening in which a number of contentious issues were discussed, but overall I think the film was well received - but just not quite what the audience had been led to expect.
30th May 04 When the guests do arrive, they have an amusing habit of dying. This is obviously bad for business and so, with family honour in jeopardy they take quite quickly to hiding the bodies, usually accompanied by some big musical number.