Netflix revisits the golden era of Thai cinema

Netflix revisits the golden era of Thai cinema

Netflix revisits the golden era of Thai cinema
A scene from Once Upon A Star. (Photo: NETFLIX)

Netflix is taking audiences back to the 1960s with the release of Once Upon A Star, a heartfelt homage produced by renowned director Nonzee Nimibutr. The film stars Sukollawat Kanaros, Nuengthida Sophon, Jirayu La-ongmanee, and Samart Payakaroon.

Once Upon A Star takes viewers on a captivating journey through the charming and bygone world of the travelling pharma-cinema troupe, an iconic symbol of Thailand's golden era of cinema. These dedicated individuals hit the road, bringing the joy of live-dubbed movies to remote villages and small towns. During some of the most exciting moments of the show, they have to become salespeople who promote their employer's pharmaceutical products before the movie can resume. This unique style of entertainment, which was long forgotten, is revived in all its glory on Netflix.

One of the distinctive features of this form of entertainment is live dubbing, where the audience comes to know each character solely through the talent and performance of the dubbers. Originally, a single dubber would voice every male and female character in the movie. However, as the art form evolved, audiences preferred each character's voice to be dubbed by the correct gender. The film's protagonist, Boss Manit, the troupe's leader and the only original dubber, hires the gifted Ruangkhae to join the team and dub the female characters, leading to an adventure filled with love, friendship, and the spirit of the era.

"This movie is inspired by interviews with dubbers who worked during that era. The more I heard about their joyful and memorable experiences, the more I wanted to portray these stories in a film as a tribute to the Thai film industry," said director Nonzee Nimibutr.

What sets Once Upon A Star apart is its setting in 1970, during the peak of Mitr Chaibancha's fame, the legendary Thai actor whose movies from that era, including Money Money Money, The Red Eagle, and Mon Rak Luk Thung, continue to be celebrated today.

Director Nonzee Nimibutr pays tribute to the iconic actor, referring to him as the "forever superstar". In the film, pivotal decisions made by the travelling pharma-cinema troupe are influenced by a member seeking guidance from Mitr Chaibancha's photograph. His sudden passing deeply impacts both the Thai film industry and the members of the travelling pharma-cinema unit.

A scene from Once Upon A Star. (Photos © Netflix)

Once Upon A Star is scheduled for release on Oct 11.

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