Posted by: koolcampus | May 29, 2008

TEENAGE Angst and “INAPPROPRIATE” Love = surefire BOX OFFICE SUCCESS for LOVE OF SIAM movie.

Let’s give KUDOS to the THAI FILM MAKERS.

They are smart at horning their craft.

They research into what their audience wants.

And they tirelessly and painstakingly continue to churn out endless scare movies (the types that unintentionally make you laugh), crude country comedies (heck, if not for cheap thrills, are they really funny at all?) and soapy teenage dramas (sure…. with tears thrown in aplenty).

With a huge population of 61.5 million, when a movie “flunk” at the box office, sales from the VCDs (not DVDs) help to cover investment costs.

Because VCDs are much cheaper (so that those country folks who cannot afford the expensive cinema ticket) would buy these for home entertainment and keepsake.

What if 50% of the 61.5 million buy your VCDs?

Just imagine how rich you can get, right? What you have achieved at the local Box Office is just a bonus, really. Not to speak about foreign distributions outside of Thailand.

So film making in THAILAND, unlike Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia can hardly go wrong. If you do it well, you strike gold.

Viva lah, VCDs !

These days, the ghost thrillers are so laughable that you’re bound to leave the cinema in stitches.

Mostly, the deadly scenes are bloodied and gruesome, and the plot sucks that at curtain call, you’d still be wondering what the goofy tale is all about.

And when you “roar” at the rude rustic comedies, you’d probably be laughing at yourself – because the jokes are so self-deprecating mostly.

The teenage romantic films tend to “make you feel oh-so-young again”. In life, if there is a second chance at rejuvenation …. why not?

After all, film making is also a cash making machine, and which true blue investor does not want to see a good return for money spent?

So the cycle goes on.

THAI people generally love movies about teenage love as reflected in past successes, and following hard on the heels of recent blockbusters such as FARN CHARN (My Girl), PERN SANIT (My Bosom Buddy) and SEASONS CHANGE, 26 year-old writer and helmer CHUKIAT SAKVEERAKUL takes over the reins of LOVE OF SIAM and weaves a sad albeit heartbreaking tale of teenage angst, “inappropriate” love and a Catholic mother’s coming to terms with the loss of her missing daughter, an alcoholic husband and her teenage son’s growing sexuality.

Film Director CHUKIAT laces the film with two pairs of pretty boys and girls in key roles so there are plenty of eye candies for us to gawk at.

Bangkok’s SIAM SQUARE is a hip and trendy place for teenagers with scores of “swell” eateries, designer boutiques, open air jamming sessions, karaoke and ‘live’ sing-along bar restaurants. If you are young or young-at-heart, this exciting place is a “must” for you.

LOVE of SIAM has an energetic pulse throughout the entire movie.

The film takes off when MEW, a young child prodigy and talented songwriter re-encounters long lost buddy TONG who is experiencing his first love with a cute girl in SIAM SQUARE.  FRIENDSHIP and CHILDHOOD MEMORIES are soon rekindled to a point where their pubescent feelings for each other run far too deep, and spinning of out control, thereby culminating in a rift with their own girl friends.

This is a different kind of teenage romance and it takes CHUKIAT’s competent directing to frame family loss, growing up pains, confusion of sexual identities and Thai pop boy bands in 150 minutes of running time in LOVE OF SIAM.

There’s also a controversial lingering scene of the 2 boys kissing passionately.

The ending? Well, it’s Christmas time and TONG persuades his mum to allow him to make his own “choice”  of his friendship with MEW.

He goes to find MEW  who has just finished a performing gig in SIAM SQUARE and hands him a Christmas present.

The yuletide mood is deeply haunting and with misty eyes TONG tells MEW that he cannot be his boy friend anymore as it is an “inappropriate” relationship.

But his decision has “never been a choice of not loving MEW”. On the contrary.

Newcomers MARIO MAURER as TONG and WITWISIT HIRANYAWONGKUL as MEW give extraordinary performances in their roles.

They share an affable chemistry, but it is TONG’s distraught mother-in-distress played by veteran actress SINJAI PLENGPANICH who dominates screen presence in most parts.

There are 2 very lovely and lilting theme songs thrown in for a measure, the type that stirs the fall-in-love-again feelings in you, and you may want to reach for a tissue.  Sniff …..

To sum up, let’s take a verse from JO HALE’s poem:

“ANOTHER DAY PASSES,

MY LIFE GOES BY,

I THINK OF YOUR MEMORY,

AS I SIT HERE AND CRY,

I REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES,

THERE WERE MANY WE HAVE SHARED,

AND I ALWAYS KNEW

THAT FOREVER YOU CARED,

AND I’LL CARRY YOUR MEMORY

RIGHT HERE IN MY HEART.”

LOVE OF SIAM movie picks up many accolades in different Thai festivals, and the latest is the 2008 STAR ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS where it bags:

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ACTRESS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

BEST SCREENPLAY

BEST COMPOSER

AWESOME, isn’t it?


Responses

  1. Really sad movie. It made me cry. But the movie is really great.

  2. Just reading this entire entry sends me to tears, like reliving the experience. I know this is so late but I still can’t get over this awesome movie. Can’t tell you enough how much it affected me. I am now obsessing about Mew, Witwisit, Pitch or Pchy. I hope I get to see him in the flesh before I lose my sanity. I just really really hope they won’t pursue a sequel.


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