Sunday, 24 June 2018

Revolution française

Revolution francaise
Emmanuel Macron was elected just over a year ago, becoming President of France aged only thirty-nine. With characteristic ostentation and self-confidence, he compared himself to Jupiter, the Roman king of the gods. In his first fortnight as President, he condemned Russian state propaganda at a Versailles press conference with Vladimir Putin, and greeted Donald Trump with a vice-like handshake. His domestic poll ratings have suffered following his reform of France's previously sacrosanct labour laws, though he has successfully maintained the downward trend in the unemployment rate that began in early 2017.

Sophie Pedder's Revolution française: Emmanuel Macron and the Quest to Reinvent a Nation covers Macron's election campaign, his first year in office, and "his ambition to remake France." Pedder acknowledges his contradictions, though she is broadly optimistic about his potential. Her book includes an interview with Macron at the Elyseé Palace.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

100 Greatest Films

100 Greatest Films
Today's issue of The Daily Telegraph features a 100 Greatest Films list compiled by film critic Robbie Collin. The list is organised by genre (from the conventional to the esoteric), and each director is limited to a single film. (Collin also contributed to 500 Must-See Films in 2013.)

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Friday, 22 June 2018

Bangkok Underground Cinema

The Passion of Joan of Arc
Bangkok Underground Cinema will organise a weekend of free film screenings on 30th June and 1st July at Dadfa, a market in Bangkok. The silent classic The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d'Arc) will be shown on the second day, with a live improvised score. (It was previously screened at the 5th Silent Film Festival.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Pleasure Factory (DVD)

Pleasure Factory
Pleasure Factory (快乐工厂) was made in Singapore by Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham, whose previous film was Beautiful Boxer (บิวตี้ฟูล บ๊อกเซอร์). When Pleasure Factory was shown in both Thailand and Singapore, an explicit masturbation sequence (featuring Loo Zihan) was censored, along with two sex scenes. Altogether, around two minutes of footage was cut. However, the film was released uncut on DVD in Europe and America.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Vein/Vain

Vein/Vain
Vein/Vain
Darisa Karnpoj's first solo exhibition, Vein/Vain, opens this weekend. Darisa, who signs her work with the nickname Riety, paints portraits of women using their own blood, diluted with water. The exhibition, at Daydream Believer in Bangkok, also offers an insight into her artistic process, displaying blood samples and a sketchbook alongside the paintings. Vein/Vain is on show from 16th to 30th June.

Other Thai artists have also painted with blood. Kosit Juntaratip's Allergic Realities exhibition featured classic news photographs recreated with his blood. Pornprasert Yamazaki used his blood to paint banknotes for the Suicide Mind and Currency Crisis exhibitions, and he showed blood-and-petrol works at Swallow. For his Died On 6th October 1976 series, Manit Sriwanichpoom soaked autopsy photographs in blood. There was even a banner painted in blood at Democracy Monument during the 2010 political crisis.

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

100 and One Must See Movies!

100 and One Must See Movies!
In 2016, poster company Skratkz created 100 and One Must See Movies!, a poster featuring 101 classic films, each represented by an icon hidden behind a scratchable symbol. The idea was imitated a year later by Gift Republic's 100 Movies Bucket List poster. DOIY's 100 Movies You Must See Before You Die poster, in the style of an Advent calendar, is a similar concept.

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100 Movies Bucket List

100 Movies Bucket List
Last year, Gift Republic designed a 100 Movies Bucket List poster, featuring 100 classic films, each represented by an icon hidden behind a scratchable window. The idea was presumably based on the Skratkz poster 100 and One Must See Movies! from 2016. DOIY's 100 Movies You Must See Before You Die poster, in the style of an Advent calendar, is also a similar concept.

PDF

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

The Sweet Gang (DVD)

The Sweet Gang
The Sweet Gang
The Sweet Gang (ยกก๊วนป่วนหอ), a low-budget sex farce directed by Niran Thamprecha, was made for the Thai straight-to-VCD market in 2005. It was also released on VCD and DVD in Hong Kong (界女鬥一番). (The film's on-screen title is The Sweet Gang, though the video covers all drop the definite article.)

The Sweet Gang is of almost no interest, except for its use of self-censorship for comic effect. Whenever a character is about to disrobe, the film is interrupted by a flashing "SENSOR !!!" [sic.] warning. This happens several times, lasting from a few seconds to more than a minute, by which point the joke has worn rather thin.

A very similar device was used by Apichatpong Weerasethakul three years after The Sweet Gang. When Syndromes and a Century (แสงศตวรรษ) was censored in Thailand, Apichatpong replaced the cut sequences with silent, black footage to highlight the censorship.