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Sunday, May 17, 2009
Cannes Day 4: The mini-mob of famished ladies and gentlemen
Cannes Day 4:
There was an ensemble of traditional Thai musicians playing in Cannes this afternoon. They were flown in from Bangkok, to perform at the reception hosted by the Ministry of Culture at the Thai pavillion on the beach. The minister himself, Democrat MP Thira Salakpetch, was there to receive the guests. The food, as people told me, was great, which wasn’t unexpected, since it was Thai food, after all, though there was a small mob of famished ladies and gentlemen by the buffet table (though it was only 4pm!) and I was unable to get close to verify it. A camera crew from Thai PBS were also flown in to record the event for TV news.
The purpose of the reception, I think, was to promote Thailand as a destination for location shooting, and perhaps to promote Thai movies as well. It wasn’t all that clear to be honest. Usually – and I stressed this every year – a country hosts a reception to raise the profile of its movie industry and, if that country has a film in the Official Selection, to honour the filmmaker for the occasion – to show that the government cares about their talents. This wasn’t always the case with the Thai receptions, this afternoon as well a in the past. The only thing the guests always remember fondly is, of course, the food.
This year, Thailand has a film in the Official Selection , “Nang Mai”, but the reception wasn’t really about acknowledging this. In fact, to be frank, I’m not sure if the ministry is aware of the fact that there is a Thai talent being recognised by the festival (the director of the film will arrive Monday afternoon). I’m not complaining; really, as we all know, stranger things have happened in our country.
About the film shown on the fourth day: the best I saw – again it’s not in the Competition – was the funny, incisively cruel comedy “Like You Know It All” by Korean director Hong San-soo. Shown in the paralell Directors’ Fortnight section, the film chronicles the clumsy social experience of a movie director, whose insecurity about personal relationships verges on hopelessness. Hong, through vignettes of dry humour, dissects the pathetic dance of male-female interactions, emotional and sexual, with detached and casual precision. After a bad Korean film – the enormously hyped vampire saga “Thirst” – “Like You Know It All” shows that Korean cinema still nurtures a real, unique talent under the bubble of its mainstream machine.
But of course, the reception by the Korean Film Commission will honour all of their filmmakers present in Cannes.
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