Cannes Film Review: ‘Ten Years Thailand’

Variety | 5/9/2018 | Maggie Lee
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“Ten Years Thailand” an anthology of shorts by Thai directors Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnnon Siriphol and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, imagines what happens to their country, ruled by a military junta since 2014, a decade from now. Opening with George Orwell’s famous line in “1984”: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past,” a common theme in the anthology is mind control for the purpose of producing homogeneity. Drolly absurdist, but only average in inventiveness, and lacking the truly pungent satirical wit of a similar dystopian omnibus like “Tales From the Golden Age,” these vignettes will nonetheless make the rounds at plenty of festivals thanks to the cache of 2010 Palme d’Or winner Weerasethakul.

The Thai, Hong Kong and Japanese co-production is spearheaded by the producers and sales agents of Hong Kong omnibus “Ten Years,” whose dystopian vision of post-handover Hong Kong was banned in China but was favorably viewed elsewhere. While the Hong Kong shorts, by less-experienced filmmakers, are visibly crude in technique, their stories sizzle with anger, resistance and martyrdom, which provokes instant empathy. By contrast, in “Ten Years Thailand” a mood of acquiescence and hopelessness prevails, exacerbated by an undercurrent of distrust and hostility.

Runs - Director - Thai - Cinema - Author

Each short runs without announcing its director, but those familiar with Thai cinema could easily guess the author. The first is the most articulate and emotionally resonant of the lot. Assarat’s black-and-white “Sunset” highlights the unnatural nature of censorship. A small army squadron checks on an art gallery, and takes issue with an exhibition of photos that capture the spontaneous moods of ordinary people. The captain warns of the “conflict and misunderstanding” that such images may sow in the community. What’s disturbing is the casual civility of the exchange between the captain and the gallery head, a suggestion that this...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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