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Springsteen conquered music and Broadway ‒ now he’s making movies

Published October 19, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30377525

Springsteen conquered music and Broadway ‒ now he’s making movies

Oct 18. 2019
Bruce Springsteen at his home in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/Washington Post

Bruce Springsteen at his home in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Photo: Michael S. Williamson/Washington Post
By Ann Hornaday
The Washington Post

541 Viewed

Colts Neck, New Jersey – “Ahh, it’s early!” Shortly after 9.30 on a warm autumn morning, Bruce Springsteen walks into the cozy kitchen-sitting area of Thrill Hill, the recording studio nestled into a corner of his Monmouth County farm. “For the first interview of my 70s, it’s early!”

A few days after turning 70, Springsteen looks tan and fit as he settles into a leather slingback chair, stretches his arms and runs his hands through brush-cut hair the color of steel shavings. This is the same room where “Western Stars”, a movie based on his recent album of the same name, was in post-production over the summer, with co-director Thom Zimny editing at a nearby dining table as he listened to Springsteen working on the score in the next room. The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September; it opens in theatres on October 25.

 

Bruce Springsteen in "Western Stars", which opens in theatres on October 25. The film evolved from a straightforward documentary into a sweeping montage and introspective portrait. Photo: Rob DeMartin/Warner Bros.

Bruce Springsteen in “Western Stars”, which opens in theatres on October 25. The film evolved from a straightforward documentary into a sweeping montage and introspective portrait. Photo: Rob DeMartin/Warner Bros.

Springsteen makes his feature directing debut with “Western Stars”, sharing a credit with Zimny and making official a fact that has been obvious to anyone who’s ever listened closely to his music: Bruce Springsteen ‒ singer, songwriter, rock star, consummate showman, American icon – has always been a filmmaker. Whether in the form of widescreen, highly pitched epics or low-budget slices of daily life, Springsteen’s records have been less aural than immersive, unspooling with cinematic scope, drive and pictorial detail. Phil Spector might have built a wall of sound, but Springsteen used sound to build worlds.

He greets the suggestion that he’s an auteur with one of his frequent self-effacing chuckles. But Springsteen admits that a cinematic point of view came naturally to him. “Movies have always meant a lot to me,” he says in his familiar rasp. ‘It’s probably just a part of being a child of the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s, when there was so much great filmmaking.”

He grew up in a blue-collar, Irish-Italian family at a time when the local bijou was still a vital community hub. “The Strand Theatre in Freehold, New Jersey, was dead in the centre of town,” he recalls. “It was your classic old, small-town movie theatre. Its main attraction was, ‘Come on in, it’s cool inside’.”

He laughs again.

“It didn’t matter what they were playing, it was air-conditioned. So, on all those dead, small-town summer days, when it would get up into the 90s in Freehold, you’d drift in no matter what was playing, and see what was on the screen.”

Springsteen’s first album, “{Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ”, introduced him in 1973 as an instinctively visual, character-driven storyteller. The title of his second album that year, “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle” was inspired by a 1959 movie starring the icon of postwar American Westerns, Audie Murphy. The songs evoked everything from “West Side Story” to the edgy, urban style of young Martin Scorsese.

But it was 1975s “Born to Run” that brought Springsteen’s sensibility into its fullest expression. Structured as a day in the life of young people trying to escape their own dead, small-town summer days, the record plays like a movie of the mind’s eye, with propulsive movement, linear narrative and third-act catharsis.

Zimny, who has directed several Springsteen music videos and documentaries and recently won an Emmy for “Springsteen on Broadway”, recalled listening to “Born to Run” long before the two worked together, and being particularly affected by the album’s most ambitious track: the street opera “Jungleland”, with its fugitive leading man, barefoot love interest and kids flashing guitars “just like switchblades”. The song “opened up a world of possibility for me”, he says, “because it just dealt in imagery. ‘Jungleland’ was the first time I heard a sax solo feel like a Technicolor film”.

If “Born to Run” evoked the chrome, concrete and escapist fantasies of the movies Springsteen watched at the Strand, the lexicon of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” was grainier and less mannered, but still harked back to the imaginary worlds of his youth.

“When I wrote ‘Born to Run’ and ‘Darkness’, I saw them as B-pictures,” Springsteen says. “If they worked really well, they were good ones, and the songs I was unhappy with were bad ones.”

He wanted both records “to have the breadth of cinema”, he says, ‘while at the same time remaining very, very personal for me. Those were the parameters of what I was imagining at that particular moment. I was sort of using the contours and the shape of films and movies, while at the same time trying to find myself in my work. But the film-ness of my songs was never far from my mind.” And it was a self-mythologising vernacular that his audience immediately understood.

“It was just how you processed everything,” he continues. “As a teenager, you were looking for a dramatic life. Where is my dramatic life? As if things weren’t dramatic enough. And you were writing your own script in your head as you walked down the street. It was all just part of living at that time.”

 

Bruce Springsteen recorded a concert for the movie "Western Stars" with his wife, Patti Scialfa, at their 100-year-old barn in New Jersey. Photo: Michael S Williamson/Washington Post

Bruce Springsteen recorded a concert for the movie “Western Stars” with his wife, Patti Scialfa, at their 100-year-old barn in New Jersey. Photo: Michael S Williamson/Washington Post

Jon Landau co-produced “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town” (as well as several subsequent records) and would talk with Springsteen for hours about music, novels and movies, a conversation that still hasn’t ended (Landau has been Springsteen’s manager for 41 years). While they were making “Darkness”, he remembers, Springsteen told him about a movie he had seen on TV, without catching the title. “He started to describe the film to me, and I said, ‘Oh, Bruce, that was ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.” He said, ‘That’s about the greatest thing I’ve [ever] seen’. I said, ‘What did you like about it?’ And he said, ‘Everything. The look, the intensity, the focus, the artistry, everything’. And I said, ‘Well, you know, John Ford directed that’. And he said, ‘Oh, I’ve heard of him’.”

That was the point, Landau says, when Springsteen “started looking at film in a whole different way. He started to make contact with great American cinema and it just grew and grew and grew”. Eventually, Springsteen formed his own canon of go-to movies, each of which has had an imprint on his records – Ford’s ambivalent Western epic “The Searchers”, noir classics “The Night of the Hunter” and ‘Out of the Past”, Scorsese’s ‘Mean Streets” and “Taxi Driver”, “The Godfather”. All share Springsteen’s love for poetic imagery, volatile emotion and deep misgivings about the American myth.

“The Grapes of Wrath” would become the chief influence on Springsteen’s 1995 record “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, just as the desolate acoustic mood of “Nebraska” had been inspired by “The Night of the Hunter”, Terrence Malick’s “Badlands” and the 1980s crime drama “True Confessions”, with Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall. “There was something about the stillness of it that affected the way that I wrote at the time,” Springsteen says. “The violence underneath.”

Nearly every Springsteen record has its own musical signature but also its own production and lighting design, character arcs and shot structure: the high-kicking production numbers of “Rosalita” and “Out in the Street”. The gleaming close-ups and jump-cut rhythms of “Born to Run”. The “East of Eden” Oedipal rage of “Adam Raised a Cain”. The erotic-thriller charge of “Candy’s Room” and “I’m On Fire”. The lurid neon nightscape of “Tunnel of Love”. The ageing actors and magic-hour tonal values of “Western Stars”. Over the course of a nearly 50-year career, both as a solo performer and with the E Street Band, Springsteen’s music has become its own extended cinematic universe, populated by recurring characters, environments and themes: Broken heroes. Rattrap towns. Dashed ideals and dogged faith in redemption. And, always, the beckoning highway.

Along with the characters he invented, Springsteen has shaped his persona to emulate musical heroes like Elvis Presley and Woody Guthrie, as well as his favourite actors. On the cover of “Darkness on the Edge of Town” he could be Al Pacino playing Travis Bickle, while wearing Marlon Brando’s T-shirt under James Dean’s leather jacket. Springsteen says he was “tremendously” influenced by actors as he sought to forge his identity as a performer, from Dean and Brando to Pacino and Robert De Niro.

“Italian American actors from the 1970s had a huge impact on me,” he says. “If you came and saw us onstage in the ’70s, you saw a very theatrical performance. I was kind of channelling all of those actors from that time, and bringing them onstage with me.” Even the piratical high jinks with Miami Steve Van Zandt and the playful showdowns with saxophonist Clarence Clemons felt like they sprang directly from the screen: Sharks-vs-Jets by way of the Bowery Boys.

It was also at that time ‒ the first crest of his eventual superstardom ‒ that Springsteen landed on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, prompting the inevitable calls from Hollywood. He met with Milos Forman, who considered him for “Hair”. And he laughs at a classic “Kid, I like your moxie!” moment with “King of the Gypsies” producer Dino De Laurentiis. “I was like, 25, and he was behind a big desk smoking a big cigar. It was just that entire scene, played out hilariously.”

Eric Roberts eventually got that part. But Springsteen has no regrets. “I didn’t have the confidence at the time,” he says. “I thought, I don’t really deserve to be working in this arena right now, because I hadn’t done the homework. I hadn’t prepared myself. Whereas in music, I’d prepared myself thoroughly.”

In a rock ‘n’ roll world that prizes authenticity above all else, Springsteen has succeeded at both embodying unaffected sincerity and shrewdly deploying it as a brand: In addition to the unassuming men and women he valourised in his songs, perhaps his most brilliant character is The Boss, a Bruce-adjacent alter ego who, in hundreds of music videos, movie soundtracks and “Sopranos” needle-drops, has gone from scruffy boardwalk hustler to bandana-and-biceps teen idol to a multimillionaire in working-class drag.

In the 1992 single “Better Days”, Springsteen sang about being “a rich man in a poor man’s shirt”. Today, in addition to the sprawling horse farm in New Jersey, he owns homes in Florida and Los Angeles, but still convincingly radiates man-of-the-people modesty, a contradiction he deflects by being the first person to call it an act. (“I made everything up!” he says at one point. “It’s a fascinating magic trick.”) Springsteen admits that he continues to find the notion of authenticity elusive, “knowing what a self-creation I was, and to some degree still am. But the strange thing of it all is that if you do it long enough, you start to become the thing that you pretended to be”.

In fact, the man and the image now feel so organically fused that Springsteen has become an emotional instrument in his own right. The latter-day meta-version of Bruce Springsteen, as seen in both “Springsteen on Broadway” and “Western Stars”, is simultaneously subject and protagonist, humble singer-songwriter and larger-than-life leading man.

In both films, the camera often pushes in for a tight shot and stays there, a strategy that Landau notes is by design. “Some of that comes instinctively from our shared love of Sergio Leone, who is the man who proved that you could never be too close,” he explains. But it’s also the result of learning over the years that Springsteen is physically far more expressive than stylised visuals or manipulative edits. Even on huge stadium screens, Landau observes, the close-up has always been king. “The story of the song is on his face,” he says. “If you weren’t hearing the lyrics, you’d still have some idea of what he’s saying just from looking at him.”

As a movie, “Western Stars” began with a modest proposition. Instead of touring for the album, Springsteen intended to release a documentary of a performance he and his wife, Patti Scialfa, recorded over two days with a band and a 30-piece orchestra in their farm’s 100-year-old barn. “I said, ‘Okay, I’ll shoot the record start to finish’,” Springsteen recalls, “and that would be my tour”.

But as he watched the concert footage, he realized that the songs and their lush ’70s-era arrangements needed more context. One night, while Scialfa watched TV, Springsteen spent a couple of hours writing introductions that became the voice-over script for “Western Stars”. He and Zimny went to the desert near Joshua Tree, where Springsteen can be seen roaming amid the brush, reflecting on the American Dream, its disappointments, personal demons (“If I loved you deeply,” he says at one point, “I would try to hurt you.”) and his cardinal theme: “the struggle between individual freedom and communal life.”

Eventually, “Western Stars” morphed from a straightforward concert doc to a sweeping montage and introspective portrait, composed of present-day footage, home movies, archival photographs and an achingly beautiful live performance. In the process, Zimny realised that Springsteen’s instincts as an image-maker were just as canny 40-plus years after “Jungleland”. The two were in “constant communication” throughout filming, Zimny says, with Springsteen throwing out ideas far beyond just the music. “It’s getting texts, it’s getting imagery, it’s getting lines from a song and visual references.”

At one point, Zimny received a text from Springsteen suggesting a shot of his hand on the steering wheel of a vintage El Camino, then a similar image, this time including Scialfa’s hand. The bookends made the final cut, symbols of freedom and community writ large, but also a man reconciling a lifetime of restlessness and all-consuming ambition to the consolations of domesticity and commitment.

For Landau, the themes and imagery of “Western Stars” circle back to the conversations he and Springsteen had about their mutual love for John Ford decades ago. But mostly, he says, it reflects “the maturation of Bruce’s whole life of learning about film”. More than any previous movie or video, “this one is him from the get-go, 100 per cent”, Landau says. “Every idea, word, sound, edit and cut.”

Springsteen describes “Western Stars” as of a piece with both his 2016 memoir and the Broadway show ‒ a trilogy that, perhaps unconsciously, was part of his coming to terms with the birthday he just celebrated.

“I was thinking, ‘How do I sum up my experience to this point?’” he says. “The book, the play and this film, they all serve that purpose. It kind of cleanses the palate and it will allow me to move on to whatever we do next.”

The “we” in that sentence is the E Street Band and “next” is recording a new batch of songs he wrote for them earlier this year. Springsteen doesn’t see another movie in his immediate future, unless it’s the four-minute kind he’s been making all along.

“Music was always enough for me,” he says philosophically. “Anything else that came along was just an adjunct, and an organic and happy accident that came from being a musician, which is what I wanted to be my whole life.”

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Coming soon to a screen near you

Published October 13, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30377353

Coming soon to a screen near you

Oct 13. 2019
By The Nation

46 Viewed

Apple today released the trailer for its upcoming Apple TV+ series “Truth Be Told”, a crime drama starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul and Emmy-nominated Lizzy Caplan. The series follows podcaster Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) as she reopens the murder case that made her a national sensation and comes face to face with Warren Cave (Aaron Paul), the man she may have mistakenly helped to put behind bars. Her investigation navigates urgent concerns about pri

The series, which has been created by Nichelle Tramble Spellman, co-stars Elizabeth Perkins, Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, Tracie Thoms, Haneefah Wood and Ron Cephas Jones.

Apple TV+ launches on November 1 in over 100 countries and regions, and will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at tv.apple.com, for just $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial.

Thai drama to be filmed in South Korea

Published October 4, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30377021

Thai drama to be filmed in South Korea

Oct 03. 2019
By The Nation

785 Viewed

South Korea’s Gangwon province is hoping to draw more Thai tourists by inking a deal with Magic if Entertainment company to support the filming of the drama “The Destiny of Love” – “Phrom Phisawats” in Thai – by the well-known novelist who goes by the penname Thepita.

Gangwon officials have long been encouraging foreign movie crews to shoot in the province and Thailand is no exception, with access made even easier by the launch of a new flight between Bangkok and Yang Yang operated by Gangwon Airlines.

The provincial economic governor of Gangwon, Jeong Munho, told reporter he was delighted that the Thai drama will be shot in the province and is confident that Thai audiences will be attracted by the scenes of the countryside.

Shooting of “The Destiny of Love” is scheduled to start this month and the drama will air early in 2020.

Turning the lens on refugees from Myanmar

Published October 2, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376968

Turning the lens on refugees from Myanmar

Oct 02. 2019
By The Nation

34 Viewed

RCB Film Club is celebrating Swiss cinema this month, selecting as its October movie “How About Love” by noted director Stefan Haupt who loves Thailand and has visited the country several times.

The story centres on Swiss surgeon Dr Fritz Reinhart who comes with his wife Lena for a holiday to Chiang Mai and visits a Burmese refugee camp, where his friend Bruno, a doctor, is working. He is very moved by the plight of the refugees and decides to stay on and help them, while his wife returns home. The doctor meets the quietly confident Burmese refugee girl Say Paw, who is a helper at the camp, and a recorder of the refugees’ stories. They become deeply attracted to each other, leading to major problems with his wife and three children. A man in turmoil, Reinhart finds himself facing life-changing choices.

The director said he based his story on many real-life tales. His parents hosted several Cambodian refugees at their home in Switzerland over the years.

The film was shot in Chiang Mai and deals with the topical issue of refugees on Thailand’s Western borders, an issue about which the director wants to raise awareness. “How About Love” has been well received at film festivals in Europe, US and Asia but has not been selected for general release in Thailand.

Supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Thailand, it show on Saturday, October 12 at 4pm at RCB Forum on the second floor of River City Bangkok.

Keeping the kids amused: Apple TV+ debuts its new children’s series

Published September 28, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376846

Keeping the kids amused: Apple TV+ debuts its new children’s series

Sep 28. 2019
Helpsters” press image (photo courtesy of Apple

Helpsters” press image (photo courtesy of Apple
By The Nation

66 Viewed

Apple today unveiled trailers for “Helpsters”, “Snoopy in Space” and “Ghostwriter”, three of its highly anticipated slate of children’s series developed from Peanuts and Sesame Workshop for Apple TV+.

Apple’s original content for children is thoughtfully curated to ignite creativity and spark curiosity. Launching on November 1,  Apple TV+ will be available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac and other platforms, including online at tv.apple.com, for just $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial.

“Helpsters”

“Helpsters is a new live-action pre-school series from the makers of Sesame Street. Cody and the Helpsters are a team of vibrant monsters who love to solve problems. Whether it’s planning a party, climbing a mountain, or mastering a magic trick, the Helpsters can figure anything out – because everything starts with a plan.”

“Snoopy in Space”

Blast off with Snoopy in a series of 12 animated shorts featuring Charlie Brown and the beloved Peanuts gang.  Snoopy fulfills his dreams and embarks on his next big adventure – becoming a NASA astronaut. Joined by Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang, Snoopy takes command of the International Space Station and explores the moon and beyond. The series hails from an exclusive partnershipbetween Apple and Wildbrain (Peanuts Worldwide).

“Ghostwriter”

In this re-imagining of Sesame Workshops’ beloved 1992 series, a ghost haunts a neighborhood bookstore and starts releasing fictional characters into the real world, pushing four kids into must teaming up to solve an exciting mystery surrounding the ghost’s  unfinished business.  Each episode story arc is grouped around literature, featuring classics and new works commissioned from popular authors like DJ Machale and Kwame Alexander.

‘Teenage Psychic’ returns to the small screen

Published September 26, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376750

‘Teenage Psychic’ returns to the small screen

Sep 26. 2019
By The Nation

131 Viewed

Taiwanese actress Kuo Shu-Yao and co-star Fandy Fan are in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (September 25) to launch the second season of the award-winning HBO Asia Original series “The Teenage Psychic”.

The 8-episode season kicks off with double back-to-back episodes on Sunday, October 6 at 8pm on HBO, with new episodes screening on subsequent Sundays at the same time.

Kuo reprises her role as Xiao Zhen, a teenage psychic who is juggling the pressures of teenage life – first love, academic success and peer pressure – with the demands of the spirit world. Fan joins this season as new student Zhang Yuxuan, who is tired of the parental restrictions placed on him on account of his poor health.

Speaking at the media event in KL, Kuo said, “I am very thankful for the chance to reprise my role in this HBO Asia production. This season has allowed me to explore the different facets of my character, especially with the change in dynamics from the introduction of new characters, including Xiao Zhen’s mother and new friends from her school. Fans can look forward to more exciting adventures and heart-warming stories this season.”

Fan was delighted to be in Malaysia. “It’s a privilege for me to visit Malaysia and to experience the enthusiasm of Malaysian fans. I am very grateful to HBO Asia for giving me the opportunity to participate in an international production. I’ve learned so much from my outstanding fellow actors, and gained a lot of valuable experience. I hope you’ll all enjoy watching the second season as much as I enjoyed filming it!”

Season two sees Xiao Zhen trying to pick up the pieces in the new school year following the tragedy she faced last year. As the new president of the drama club, Xiao Zhen focuses on recruiting new members, however there is more to the two new members than meets the eye – cute newbie Zhang Yuxuan (played by Fandy Fan) and soft-spoken Zhan Xiao Tong (played by Wen Chen-Ling). At the temple, things get complicated when Teacher Kim’s (played by Chen Mu-Yi) family secret comes back to haunt him.

Season two cast also include Wen Chen-Ling, Chen Mu-Y, Li Ying-Hong and Wu Hong-Xiu.

In response to the popularity of this series, HBO Asia has created a set of 15 “The Teenage Psychic Gifs which are now available on Facebook and Instagram for fans to use on their social platforms. The Gifs can be found in the Gif search engine, under Instagram stories, Instagram direct message, Facebook comments section and within Facebook messenger.

The first season of “The Teenage Psychic” won the Best Mini-Series (TV Movie) award and Best Supporting Actress in a Mini-Series (TV Movie) award at Taiwan’s 52ndAnnual Golden Bell Awards 2017. The series also inspired the HBO Asia Original documentary, “The World Behind the Teenage Psychic”, which explores how the distinct blend of Taoist, Buddhist, Chinese folklore and indigenous belief systems continue to flourish in modern Taiwan.

Murder and intrigue in political circles

Published September 24, 2019 by SoClaimon

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https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376586

Murder and intrigue in political circles

Sep 23. 2019
By The Nation

448 Viewed

Filming has begun on the four-episode second season of the Cinemax and BBC One series “C B Strike”, titled “Lethal White”, it was announced today.

Stars Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger will return, along with Robert Glenister, Natasha O’Keeffe and Kerr Logan for the fourth story based on JK Rowling’s best-selling “Cormoran Strike” crime novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

In the grips of psychosis, a young man named Billy Knight (Joseph Quinn) arrives in private detective Cormoran Strike’s (Burke) office telling the story of a child he saw strangled many years ago. Strike is simultaneously hired by government minister Jasper Chiswell (Glenister) to investigate Billy’s brother, Jimmy Knight (Nick Blood), who is blackmailing him. As Strike and his partner Robin (Grainger) work to determine how the cases might be connected, Robin goes undercover in the House of Commons.

However, Robin’s private life is unravelling as her relationship with Matthew Logan) feels the full strain of her commitment to Strike and her work. At the same time, Strike has his own issues, a girlfriend who confesses she loves him and his complicated ex Charlotte (Natasha O’Keeffe) who is pregnant and back in the frame.

For those wanting to play catch up, the first season’s episodes “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and “The Silkworm and Career of Evil” can be streamed on on HBO GO via AIS PLAY and AIS PLAYBOX.

Sue Tully will direct all four episodes of“Lethal White”, produced in association with BBC One. J K Rowling executive produces through her Bronte Film & TV production company; Neil Blair, Ruth Kenley-Letts and Tommy Bulfin for the BBC also executive produce. The series is based on a script by Tom Edge.

Life in all its complexities

Published September 23, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376561

Life in all its complexities

Sep 23. 2019

“Wet Season” – a Singaporean film is premiered at Toronto International Film Festival.
By Donsaron Kovitvanitcha
Special to The Nation

179 Viewed

Anthony Chen’s new film “Wet Season” is well received by North Americans in Toronto but will the sensitive issues it addresses go down so well in his home country of Singapore?

 Known as an event that tests the waters for the Oscars, the Toronto International Film Festival not only screens potential American prize winners but has long served as an important platform for international cinema. The festival, which this year ran from September 5 to 15 and, as ever, attracted more film fans than any other comparable event,

presented hundreds of films from around the world in various categories and for the first time since the Platform competition introduced the North American public to a Singaporean film.

“Wet Season” is the second feature film by Anthony Chen, whose 2013 work ‘Ilo Ilo’ was the first Singaporean film ever to win a prize at Cannes Film Festival. It scored another first later that year by picking up Best Film at the Golden Horse Awards and made Anthony Chen one of the most interesting new-generation filmmakers in Asia.

Like “Ilo Ilo”, which explores the relationship between a young boy and the Filipino domestic helper employed by his parents, ‘Wet Season’ stars Yeo Yann Yann as Ling a Chinese language teacher who is facing problems in her marriage after trying hard to have a baby. An unexpected twist comes when Ling starts giving a special tutorial class that brings her close to Weilun (Koh Jia Ler), a student who has a crush on her.

Anthony Chen, centre, at Toronto International Film Festival.

Anthony Chen, centre, at Toronto International Film Festival.

“It comes from my fascination with this woman,” Chen tells The Nation in Toronto. “I wanted to write a story about a 40-something woman who is in crisis. She is struggling with her marriage, family and work. The film is a portrait of a woman who is redefining herself and restarting her life. I wanted her to be a teacher and a woman who tries very hard to have a child. That’s the reason why the marriage is suffering. And there’s this student who comes into her life.”

Ling is still trying to get pregnant but is increasingly ignored by her husband when student Weilun comes into her life. “For a woman, when you reach a certain age, because of your maternal instinct, you may want to be a mother. I don’t think all women are like that, but I

remember my wife and I wanted to have a child, but we couldn’t. My wife is a modern woman, but she told me if she couldn’t have a kid, she didn’t feel like a woman. At some stage of your life, you will want to be a mother. You want to care for someone. So the main

character’s relationship with the boy is interesting. For her, he is like the son that she didn’t have.”

When Weilun starts private tutorials with Ling, he totally focused on his wushu training. As the relationship progresses, that obsession turns to his teacher. “It also comes from being lonely. His parents are doing business. The teacher cares for him, and gives him what he

doesn’t have. In the same way, for the teacher, her husband is never around and she has to take care of her father-in-law. She is lonely and not loved. Suddenly, there’s someone there who cares for her. That’s what I feel is so complex, interesting and fascinating about

this human relationship.”

The film uses symbols in telling the story like durian, which is used to represent the forbidden relationship. “Durian is something so Southeast Asian. We know the fruit so well that it is part of our culture. Durian is also what connects Singapore and Malaysia. Singaporeans don’t eat Thai durian. They only eat Malaysian durian. Durian also has a strong smell that I wish I could capture on screen. I used durian in a visual way as a forbidden fruit.”

“Wet Season” is the second time Chen has worked with Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann and actor Koh Jia Ler, who played mother and son in “Ilo Ilo”. “We tried to cast someone else for the role, and it didn’t work. For me it is important to cast the right person. I called several actresses from both Singapore and Malaysia to try out for the character of Ling, but none of them fit for the role.

 “When I knew for sure that I was going to work with Koh Jia Ler, who played the boy in ‘Ilo Ilo’, I didn’t want to use Yeo Yann Yann because she had played his mother in the film. But we couldn’t find the right person, so we asked her if she wanted to try. We worked very hard to transform her and make her different from ‘Ilo Ilo’ in terms of her appearance and how she moves,” says Chen.

“I didn’t want to use Jia Ler either. I want to use someone raw, like when we discovered Jia Ler for ‘Ilo Ilo’. But again, I couldn’t find the right person.”

As some parts of the film deal with matters that are sensitive to Asian audiences, it is hard to predict the feedback of the audience, especially in the film’s home country. “My financiers in Singapore said that this film is going to shock the audience there. Singapore is quite a conservative society, even more conservative than Thailand, so I have no idea what the feedback in Singapore will be.”

“We watched the film for the first time in DCP at the premiere of the film here. It was a very nice screening and people can really feel the emotion in the film. The film is very different from ‘Ilo Ilo’. When I shot ‘Ilo Ilo’, I was 28. Now I am 35. I’ve grown up as a filmmaker,

and this film represents my growing up. I don’t want people to expect this film to be like ‘Ilo Ilo’. That film was shot completely on a hand-held camera but ‘Wet Season’ is much more precise, each shot has a purpose. We put a lot of thought into how we would do it in terms of colours and everything.”

“Wet Season” is now set to travel to the Vancouver International Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival. In October, the film will have its Asian premiere in competition at Pingyao International Film Festival in China, before opening in Singapore on November 28.

Apple releases trailer for ‘Dickinson’ a tale for the millennial era

Published September 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376470

Apple releases trailer for ‘Dickinson’ a tale for the millennial era

Sep 20. 2019
By The Nation

364 Viewed

Apple on Friday released the official trailer for “Dickinson”, a new comedy starring Academy Award nominated Hailee Steinfeld that will premiere November 1 exclusively on Apple TV+.

The trailer features Hailee Steinfeld’s newly released single, “Afterlife”, which is now available to stream and download on Apple Music.

“Dickinson” is a coming-of-age story told through the lens of Emily Dickinson that finds her to be an unexpected hero for our millennial era. Set in the 19th century, the series explores the constraints of society, gender and family from the perspective of a rebellious young poet who was ahead of her time.

Created, written and executive produced by Alena Smith aw well as executive produced by Hailee Steinfeld, “Dickinson” stars Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Toby Huss, Anna Baryshnikov, Ella Hunt and Adrian Blake Enscoe. Wiz Khalifa guest stars.

Looking back in time: Thai love stories reborn

Published September 16, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

https://www.nationthailand.com/lifestyle/30376238

Looking back in time: Thai love stories reborn

Sep 16. 2019

“Fan Chan” (“My Girl”)
By The Nation

140 Viewed

Unforgettable Thai films from the 2000s are in the spotlight this month as Netflix adds 26 timeless classics from GTH and GDH 599 to its streaming menu.

One title warranting a special mention is 2003’s “Fan Chan” (“My Girl”) (2003), which many film fans consider as a defining point in contemporary Thai cinema. A co-production between Tai Entertainment, Hub Ho Hin and Grammy Entertainment (later GMM Grammy), the overwhelming success of the film later led to the birth of the new company GTH. GTH was the most successful film company before closing as the partners went their own way. Most of the team later moved to work in the new company GDH 599 which was founded by GTH’s co-founders.

“My Girl” takes audiences of every generation to rekindle their childhood love through the eyes of Jeab and Noina – childhood friends who grew up together. “My Girl” became an instant hit and was the highest grossing film of 2003 with a box office take of Bt137 million.

“I believe the moment someone is attracted to the opposite sex for the very first time, he or she is faced with a mental conundrum between friendship and love. This is how the film reaches out to touch everyone’s hearts – no matter if they have experienced the old songs or classic soap operas in it. Aside from bringing happiness and joy to the audience, any viewer can see him/herself through the eyes of Jeab or Noina. Whether you’re a child, a teenager or an adult, love is something you always have in your heart,” said Komkrit Triwimon, one of the six co-directors of “My Girl”.

“My Girl” portrays the relationship between two young protagonists in a delightful and charming way through the lenses of children growing up in the 80s.

“For the younger generation who have never watched My Girl, this would probably be an eye-opening experience. For example, witnessing children back in those days playing portable computer games with just a single button – it’s almost as if they are watching a historical documentary”, Komkrit says.

Also screening is “Pheuan Sanit” (“Dear Dakanda”), Komkrit’s solo directorial debut. The film opens with Moo aka Khai Yoi, going on a journey to explore his inner self. The story of Moo alternates between his new life on Pha-Ngan island in the south and the one which he left behind in Chiang Mai, as a shy art student who inadvertently fell in love with his close friend Dakanda. Even though it has been 15 years since the film’s debut, its themes and moods continue to resonate in Thailand’s social fabric today, with many online forum posters still expressing views about the relationship between Moo and Dakanda as a reflection of their own lives.

It stars Sunny Suwanmethanont as Khai Yoi, Siraphan Wattanachinda as Dakanda , Maneerat Khamuan as Nui and Opal Panisara Aryasakul as Tan).

Other classics from the GTH era are “Guan Muen Ho” (“Hello Stranger”) from 2010, the solo directorial debut of the aptitude Banjong Pisanthanakun, who made his name co-directing with Parkpoom Wongpoom the spine-tingling horror movie ‘Shutter’. “Hello Stranger” was shot almost a decade ago during a time when the Korean pop culture was on the ascendancy in the kingdom – just as Thai K-drama fans were making their way to Seoul in droves to see the sights from their favorite shows.

This movie depicts how two strangers – both heart-broken from their previous relationships – enter a version of the idealistic romantic relationship often depicted in Korean TV shows. Starting off as accidental ‘trip buddies’, the two decided to break free from all of their previous life commitments to have the best time of their lives together – from putting their fortunes to the test in a casino to renting out a Porsche for an exhilarating ride. “Hello Stranger” also went on to become a blockbuster hit, raking in Bt125 million along the way and taking the annual top spot in the Thai box office. Most importantly, it popularised the term “Glad to not know you” among Thai youth culture.

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