Next month will be a rare opportunity to see one of the Thai film industry’s greatest classics on the big screen. A Man Called Tone (โทน) represents a turning point in Thai cinema: before its release, almost all Thai films were formulaic quickies, shot on 16mm without sound. The success of A Man Called Tone led to a creative and technical evolution in the film industry, making it Thailand’s first truly modern film.
A Man Called Tone will be shown at Bangkok’s Scala cinema on 22nd March. Scala is the perfect venue for the film’s revival, as A Man Called Tone was originally released in 1970, only a few months after Scala first opened.
In her essay in Film in Southeast Asia, Chalida Uabumrungjit writes that A Man Called Tone “changed the way of thinking in Thai filmmaking.” In another essay in the same book (the most authoritative history of Thai film), Anchalee Chaiworaporn describes it as “a key transitional point in the history of the Thai movie.” It has an equally laudatory review in Thai Cinema: “The significance of Tone as a milestone in the development of Thai cinema cannot be underestimated.”