Sunday, 27 February 2011

Ploy Saeng 100

Ploy Saeng 100
Ploy Saeng 100
For the Ploy Saeng 100 exhibition, TCDC asked 100 influential and creative people for their cultural inspirations. The exhibition includes a costume from the banned film Insects In The Backyard.

Ploy Saeng 100 was organised to celebrate TCDC's fifth anniversary. The exhibition opened on 2nd February and will close on 13th March.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Asian Pulse 10+1

Asian Pulse 10+1
Asian Pulse 10+1
Asian Pulse 10+1: Art Tactic is a multi-media exhibition featuring works from the ten countries of the ASEAN region and China. A condensed version of the exhibition - featuring works from Thailand, Singapore, and China - opened at BACC on 21st January, and will close on 13th March.

Thai artist Amrit Chusuwan has produced a new video installation, Pig's Story, featuring ten pig sculptures viewing video footage of a slaughterhouse on five monitors. Other exhibits are more whimsical, though they tackle large themes such as politics, religion, and tradition.

video

Thursday, 24 February 2011

East Meets West

East Meets West
East Meets West
East Meets West, an exhibition of posters by graphic designer Yang Liu, opened at TCDC yesterday. The exhibition will close on 13th March.

Each poster illustrates a difference between Eastern and Western (specifically Chinese and German) cultures, represented by pictograms. Each cultural difference is expressed as a binary opposite, though the artist is never judgemental and the images are often comical.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Battleship Potemkin

Battleship Potemkin
Battleship Potemkin
Sergei Eisenstein's classic Battleship Potemkin was screened at the National Film Archive in Salaya (near Bangkok) this evening. It was previously screened on 2nd February, and will be shown again on 26th February. All screenings are free.

The film was accompanied by a new Thai music score, performed live. This is the latest of several Battleship Potemkin soundtracks, in a variety of styles: the original orchestral score composed by Edmund Meisel; a classical score by Dmitri Shostakovich, for the film's 50th anniversary rerelease (1975); an electronic score by Eric Allaman for the 60th anniversary, performed at the Berlinale (1986); an electronic/orchestral score by the Pet Shop Boys, performed as a free concert in Trafalgar Square, London (2004); and a jazz score by Richard Marriott, performed by the Club Foot Orchestra at the World Financial Center, New York (2005).

Monday, 7 February 2011

A Serbian Film

A Serbian Film
A Serbian Film, directed by Srdjan Spasojevic, is certainly shocking and offensive, though its reputation as sickening and unwatchable is unjustified. Maybe I'm too jaded, after prior exposure to Flower Of Flesh & Blood, Cannibal Holocaust, Cannibal Ferox, Salo, Blood Feast, Ichi The Killer, Aftermath, Irreversible, Men Behind The Sun, Nekromantik I-II, and August Underground's Mordum, but A Serbian Film seems like provocative exploitation rather than a pinnacle of obscenity.

Some sequences, such as the birth of a baby, the incestuous family reunion, and the death of the final bodyguard, resemble dramatic visualisations of The Aristocrats, with the director orchestrating the most disgusting acts he can think of. As in many other 'extreme' horror films, however, the concepts may be revolting though their executions are unrealistic and thus ineffective. The lead actor, for instance, wears an enormous prosthesis that's as absurd as those in XXX by La Fura dels Baus. An early decapitation scene, and the Grand Guignol finale, are so over-the-top that the gore becomes almost comic.

The film is also a bitter, nihilistic political allegory, in which the repressive Serbian government of the 1990s (notably the genocidal President Slobodan Milosevic) is represented by a Snuff movie director. Snuff movies have become an increasingly common theme in contemporary horror films, ever since the release of the low-budget exploitation film Snuff and, more recently, the mainstream thriller 8mm. The ultimate source of this trend is probably Peeping Tom, a film decades ahead of its time.

A Serbian Film is genuinely transgressive in its juxtapositions of sex, extreme violence, and children, and has therefore become highly controversial. Serbia has a tradition of cinematic provocation, notably Dusan Makavejev's WR: Mysteries Of The Organism.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

True Grit

True Grit
True Grit, Joel and Ethan Coen's latest film, stars Jeff Bridges in a role made famous by John Wayne in the first film version of True Grit (directed by Henry Hathaway in 1969). Rather than remake the original film, the Coens have directed an alternative adaptation of the source novel. Both films are reasonably faithful to the novel, though the new version is less expurgated; both include the classic "Fill your hand..." line.

Bridges previously starred in The Big Lebowski, though True Grit is an atypical Coen brothers production. A conventional western genre film with few of the off-beat elements the Coens are known for, it's a long way from the revisionism of Blood Simple or the eccentricities of Barton Fink. As in No Country For Old Men, Roger Deakins has produced epic widescreen cinematography.

Isan Film Festival 2010

Isan Film Festival 2010
There will be a free screening of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film Haunted Houses at The Jim Thompson Art Center tonight. The screening is part of the Isan Film Festival 2010: Back To Isan Homeland, which is coming to Bangkok from today until 13th February.

Apichatpong's most recent Jim Thompson Art Center screening was in 2008, when his short film Morakot was included in the Tomyam Pladib exhibition; his most famous films are Uncle Boonmee and Syndromes & A Century.