The major event for movie lovers this month will be this year’s World Film Festival of Bangkok. This marks the 14th edition of this highly anticipated annual film event, which will run from January 23rd to February 1st (originally scheduled to have run from the 4th to the 13th of November, 2016). As per usual the film line-up includes an eclectic array of carefully curated international films, including Elle, from acclaimed director Paul Verhoeven. Other notable features include Fire at Sea (Italy), Thithi (India), Gabo (Colombia), Kalo Pothi (Nepal), Present Perfect (Thailand), and Davy Chou’s Diamond Island (Cambodia), which received a lot of attention at the recent Luang Prabang Film Festival in Laos.
The festival’s opening film this year is a decided change of pace, as it will be an animated movie. Directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit, The Red Turtle (2016) tells the story of a massive sea turtle who destroys a stranded man’s raft every time he tries to sail away from the tropical island he’s on. Fans of Studio Ghibli should note that this acclaimed Japanese animation studio was one of the production teams involved in the making of this feature.
All screenings take place at the SF Cinema, Central World, and tickets are B120 each. For more info, and a complete schedule, visit www.worldfilmbkk.com.
The Black Hen
The first film from the small kingdom of Nepal to be screened, and win an award, at the prestigious Venice Film Festival, will be shown this year at the World Film Festival of Bangkok. Entitled The Black Hen (Kalo Pothi), the film was released in 2015 and is the debut feature from Min Bahadur Bham. It created waves at festivals around the world, and was also Nepal’s official Oscar-entry. The movie centres around the simple story of two village boys and their hunt for their missing hen, but it also tackles the issues of caste, communism, and culture in a gentle but thought-provoking manner. In an exclusive interview with film writer Lekha Shankar, the director talks about his inspirations and the upcoming Bangkok Festival.
How did you conceive this story?
When I was child, I always wondered why many of my friends could not enter my house, only because they were of a lower caste. I was also worried about the Maoist insurgency in the country, and I wondered when we would lead a normal life. All these observations led to the making of the film.
What was the response to the film in Nepal?
I’m proud that it was a box-office hit, and was also praised by the critics.
What was the secret of the film’s success?
The honest story and the brilliant performances of the two children (who are not professional actors).
Has your film made a big difference to the indie film scenario in Nepal?
Definitely. Now the producers want to invest, and theatres in Nepal want to screen indie films.
How special is this film festival at Bangkok?
We premiered our film in many Asian countries, except Thailand. That’s why being part of this film festival means a lot to me.