The 2004 Bangkok International Film Festival pulled out all the stops Sunday with fireworks over the Chaophraya River, French performers and traditional Thai dancers and musicians to entertain its 200 international guests on closing night.
The extravaganza brought to an end the 12-day event that culminated in the awarding of 11 prestigious Golden Kinnaree awards to Southeast Asian, as well as international, filmmakers.
The Barbarian Invasions, a French-Canadian drama about an ill hedonist reflecting on his life, won the Golden Kinnaree award in the international competition section, defeating films such as Lost in Translation, Girl With the Pearl Earring and the festival's Thai opening film, The Siam Renaissance. Last Life in the Universe, another Thai entry, by director Pen-ek Rattanaruang, won in the Best ASEAN Movie category.
PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES
The winners were announced Saturday night at a gala dinner presided over by HRH Princess Ubolratana at the Royal Thai Navy Auditorium. Chinese actors Li Yixiang (
Giovanna Mezzagiorno won Best Actress for Facing Windows, also a strong winner at recent festivals. Jim Sheridan won Best Director for his latest project, In America, a story of Irish immigrants to the US. Oliver Stone also made an appearance to pick up a Career Achievement Award, while Christopher Doyle received a tribute award for his cinematography.
Unfortunately, except for Doyle and Stone, the other awardees failed to turn up to accept their awards, which dimmed somewhat the excitement at the gala dinner. Doyle began his cinematography career in Taiwan, gaining fame for his work with Wong Kar Wai (
PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES
On top of taking the Crystal Lens Award for his achievement in shooting his characteristically stylish images of Asia, Doyle also shared the honor of the ASEAN Award, having been the cinematographer for Last Life in the Universe.
Despite the absence of the award winners, a few Hollywood A-list actors appeared at the gala dinner, adding some glam and media attention to the event and generating some publicity for their upcoming movies.
Among the most spotlighted was Chinese actress Bai Ling (
"I feel especially lucky this year that I got all those offers purely by chance," said Bai. She said she bumped into Lucas' daughter at an MTV party and was introduced to Lucas. "I was sort of joking to George that he should have a role for me so that I can use a Chinese brush as a weapon. A few days later, I got the call!" she said.
Oliver Stone was another attention-grabber, as he pitched for the historical project Alexander, which is now shooting in Thailand. Colin Farrell (who stars as Alexander the Great) and Val Kilmer (as Phillip the king of Macedonia) showed up briefly at the gala.
Stone chose Thailand as his shooting location for Alexander because of the scenes that included elephants in King Alexander's battles in India. The elephants in Thailand are famous for being well-trained. Also, his good experiences shooting in Thailand for Heaven and Earth encouraged him to return, he said.
Promoting location shooting in Thailand is one of the main objectives of the Bangkok International Film Festival, which is organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The government is said to have spent 140 million Baht (some US$30 million) on the event.
During the first quarter of 2003, foreign films shooting in Thailand brought in earnings of some US$35 million, about three times the money earned in 2002.
Jackie Chan (
Despite the promising goals, local movie goers don't seem much satisfied with the film festival this year. Some college students see the festival as an event for foreign guests and expatriates. They complained that none of international films shown at the festival have Thai subtitles. Even during the screening of Thai films, the Q&A session with the filmmakers were conducted entirely in English, making many of local audience leave the theater in the middle of the discussion. "I didn't understand what the director said. So what's the point in staying," a college student was quoted as saying in the local English-language newspaper The Nation.
Tobie Openshaw is confident that Taiwan’s government has good reasons for not including him in the Triple Stimulus Voucher Program, which launched at the beginning of this month. That’s just as well, because it seems unlikely he’ll ever discover the logic by which it was decided that he, along with other foreign residents not currently married to Taiwan citizens, shouldn’t receive the vouchers. “We’ve stood side-by-side with our Taiwanese friends through the COVID-19 crisis, complying with government measures, cheering its success and sharing that news with the world at large. If the stimulus coupons are meant to be spent to keep
Taiwan’s rapid economic development between the 1950s and the 1980s is often attributed to rational planning by highly-educated and impartial technocrats. Those who look at history through blue-tinted spectacles argue that, for much of the post-war period, the government was staffed by Chinese who fled China after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the civil war “who had no property interests in Taiwan and no connections with a landlord class,” leaving “the KMT party-state more autonomous from societal influences than governments [elsewhere in East Asia],” writes Gaye Christoffersen in Market Economics and Political Change: Comparing China and Mexico. At the same
In his 1958 book, A Nation of Immigrants, then US senator from Massachusetts John F Kennedy wrote the following words: “Little is more extraordinary than the decision to migrate, little more extraordinary than the accumulation of emotions and thoughts which finally lead a family to say farewell to a community where it has lived for centuries, to abandon old ties and familiar landmarks, and to sail across dark seas to a strange land.” As an epithet, the book’s title is commonly associated with America and, in the face of the xenophobic rhetoric that has marked US President Donald Trump’s tenure,
Every time Chen Ding-shinn (陳定信) saw a liver cancer patient in his ward, it reminded him of his father, who died from the disease at the age of 49. Historically, Taiwanese suffered from an unusually high prevalence of liver ailments as well as cancer, and Chen was troubled by the number of terminal patients. After decades of research, Chen and other experts found that Taiwan had the highest percentage of hepatitis B carriers in the world, which often developed into cirrhosis and cancer. In the early 1980s, he served as a key member of the Hepatitis Prevention Council (肝炎防治委員會), which