“With or Without a Soul?: Thai Film Series”

Tang Wong opens the CFI's Thai Film Series
Who needs to go to Toronto in order to enjoy a fine sampling of world cinema? Film buffs in Ottawa can enjoy a premiere series of contemporary Thai cinema at the Canadian Film Institute September 7 to 14. It’s a great five-film showcase for folks who enjoy hard-to-find films. To make the event an even sweeter deal, the CFI is presenting all five films FREE for the general public. The series, entitled “With or Without a Soul?: Thai Film Series” is presented in collaboration with the Royal Thai Embassy.

The festival begins on September 7th with a unique opening night gala presentation of Kongdej Jaturanrasamee’s Tang Wong, which was a selection at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. The screening with be preceded by a performance from the Thai Dance Troupe of Ottawa and will be followed by a reception. The final night of the series offers an exciting double-bill of Thailand’s most famous cinematic export: horror. (You were going to say Apichatpong Weerasethakul, weren’t you?) September 14 brings a double-header of ghostly tales to the CFI with screenings of 4BIA (2008) and Phobia 2 (2009). These screenings will also be paired with a performance by the Thai Dance Troupe of Ottawa. (Ghost-themed, of course!) Closing night’s double-bill clocks in at approximately four hours, so CFI patrons might want to note the theatre’s proximity to Green Papaya and sneak in a quick bite of Thai cuisine before the screening. (It’s just a seven minute walk!). The screenings are free, so please bring extra spring rolls and make some friends in line.

Screening in “With or Without a Soul?: Thai Film Series” are:

Tang Wong

Dir. Kongdej Jaturanrasamee 
(2013, 85 min)
Saturday, September 7, 2013, 6:30 pm

Synopsis: Em, Yong, Jay, and Best are all in need of some good fortune, each with an impending life challenge that may derail their future. Desperate, they decide to pray at the Luang Poo shrine for luck, promising to perform a traditional Thai dance if their desires are fulfilled. Tang Wong references the first position of the dance these young men must complete after finding success. Addressing the relationship between Thai youth and their cultural history, the film cleverly dramatizes these individual concerns in the context of political challenges affecting the country. An energetic, perceptive film about contemporary Thailand. 

Best of Times

Dir. Yongyoot Thongkongtoon
(2009, 117 min.)
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 7:00 pm

Synopsis: This is the story of Keng, a young veterinarian who, during giving computer classes to a group of seniors as part of a community service sentence, comes to know an elderly couple, Jamras and Sompit, who are rediscovering romance late in life. As Keng helps Jamras and Somphit with their problems, he learns from them and forms a relationship with his former school crush and friend's ex-wife, Fai. 
-Thailand’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2009 Academy Awards.

Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story

Dir. Adisorn Tresirikasem
(2009, 86 min)
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 9:15 pm 

Synopsis: Mei Li’s best friend is getting married. Reflecting on her personal inability to find love, she drinks to excess and gets in an accident on her way home. With the assistance of a bystander Loong, she makes it home but is forbidden from driving. In a fortuitous coincidence she meets Loong again, this time on the BTS Skytrain. Him being a handsome engineer of the Skytrain, Mei Li believes he is the man she’s been looking for. Of course, she soon discovers that life is never that simple…


Dir. Youngyooth Thongkonthun, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom, Paween Purijitpanya 
(2008, 112 min)
Saturday, September 14, 2013, 7:00 pm 

Synopsis: Phobia/4Bia is a horror anthology of four independent narratives: first, a homebound girl trying to combat loneliness answers a stranger’s text message, soon realizing what a mistake she has made; the second story has a victim of bullying harnessing black magic to inflict gruesome revenge; the third tale follows a group of friends on a camping trip gone awry, having to deal with the uncontrollable wilderness and an unpredictable other; the final story unfolds in an airplane cabin, with a stewardess engaged in a Prince’s extramarital affair. 4Bia brings together some of Thailand’s best horror filmmakers.

Phobia 2

Dir. Songyos Sugmakanan, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom, Visute Poolvoralaks, Paween Purijitpanya
(2009, 125 min.)
Saturday, September 14, 2013, 9:15 pm 

Synopsis: This follow up to 4Bia features five scary tales: a teenager who committed a crime goes to a sacred place for meditation and hiding that brings him fright and guilt; a man is haunted in his hospital ward by an old man in a coma; two men with two hitchhikers in a truck get into big trouble after opening the back of the vehicle; a secondhand car dealer realizes what the previous car owners and passengers had experienced; and, a sick actress whose role is a ghost is reported dead after she is brought to a hospital.

All screenings are in Thai with English sub-titles.
Admission to the five films in “With or Without a Soul?”  is FREE.
All screenings will be held in the auditorium of Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St.

Please visit www.cfi-icf.ca for more info on films and screenings.