There are four special film screenings this month at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (518/5 Ploenchit Rd, Maneeya Center, Penthouse), which are part of the ongoing Monday night documentary series. All films are shown with Thai subtitles, and a discussion follows each screening. All films begin at 7pm, and admission is free for members (B150 for non-members). There’s also an optional buffet for B250
On Monday, January 8th the club presents After Spring, a 2016 American film by directors Steph Ching and Ellen Martinez that focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis. With the Syrian conflict entering its 6th year, millions of people continue to be displaced. The film poses the question: why can’t they return to their homes?
The series continues on January 15th with City of Ghosts, a 2017 documentary that was chosen for this year’s Oscars short list. Directed by Matthew Heineman, it follows the efforts of a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.
On January 22nd don’t miss Ceyda Torun’s remarkable 2016 film Kedi, about the hundreds of thousands of cats who have roamed the metropolis of Istanbul freely for thousands of years, wandering in and out of people’s lives, impacting them in ways only an animal can. Finally, the January screenings conclude on the 29th with Reach for the Sky, a 2015 feature-length documentary from Wooyoung Choi and Steven Dhoedt that focuses on the South Korean education system.
Meanwhile, over at the Bangkok Screening Room (Sala Daeng Soi 1) the January roster is full of interesting films, including the very timely Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen. This 2017 documentary, by Danish filmmaker Rasmus Dinesen, follows 15 Michelin star-earning chefs over a period of two years, including Alain Ducasse, Daniel Humm, René Redzepi, Andoni Aduriz, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Victor Arquinzoniz, and Guy Savoy. The film exposes both the greatness and the flaws of Michelin guides, and gives viewers a realistic understanding of life in the upscale restaurant industry.
Also coming in January is the 2017 Swedish satirical drama The Square, directed by Ruben Östlund. The film is about publicity surrounding an art installation, and was partly inspired by an installation Östlund and producer Kalle Boman made. The film went on to win the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Finally, of note to film history buffs is scheduled screenings of the classic 1937 French film La Grande Illusion, from master director Jean Renoir.
The Bangkok Screening Room also has several interesting films that began their run in December and will continue to mid-January. Among them are: REM, a documentary about famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas (till January 11th); Loving Vincent, a movie about Vincent Van Gogh which is billed as the world’s first fully oil painted feature film (till January 13th); and Battle Royale, a 2007 Japanese action flick that caused Quentin Tarantino to say “I wish I had made this movie!” (till January 13th).
On the last day of the month, Minority Rights Group and the People’s Empowerment Foundation will be screening two short documentary films at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (939 Rama 1 Road) at 6pm. The screening will be followed by panel discussion between the director of Fatoni Films and representatives from Buddhists for Peace (a CSO working on promoting peace and reconciliation between Buddhist and Muslim communities in the deep south) and the Green South Foundation (a CSO that has been resisting a proposed coal fired power plant in the district of Thepa in Songkla provice). Entrance is free to both screenings.
By Bruce Scott