Reel to Real

Real to Real

I would like to think that somehow I still am a Buddhist even though it has been a while since the last time I committed Thai Theravada Buddhist ritual, possibly on my Birthday in Thailand years ago. It is the philosophy not the practice that matters. And it shows on my works.

My latest short film, Memory of You | Reflection of Me, is selected for Reel to Real Short Film Competition. The competition is a part of Buddhist Film Festival as one of events in Buddhist Festival Month. The film will be screened along with other eight short films in the theme “It’s not about me”. The filmmaker will get a chance to talk about their film after each screening. And there will be the judge award as well as the audience award.


2:15 pm – 4 pm, Saturday, 15th May 2010

The Footbridge Theatre, Glebe

Please check their website for full program and purchase tickets



Last week, there was a mail with an advance screening ticket of Amreeka in my post without returning address. It could be any film distributor in Australia but I could not be bother to find out. We got the see the movie was the aim.

Amreeka is, more or less, related to my personal experience about culture crash. Muna, a Palestinian banker in West Bank, and her son, Fadi, won a chance of the lifetime to migrate to American. They live with her sister’s family in Illinois. The new life in the new world does not go well for them financially and socially. Especially the film is set on when the Bush Administration started to invade Iraq and the neighbour is indiscriminately paranoiac against anyone with middle-east background. Muna has to take a job at a fast food franchise and Fadi picks up a fight in school.

The Writer/Director, Cherian Dabis, reflects American suburban society in the eyes of a contemporary first generation immigrant. As a second generation, she also faces identity crisis and it shows in the film. This is another great example of how the the world in larger scale being portrayed in everyday life.

The spotlight of the movie could not be on someone else but Nisreen Faour as Muna. She plays such a universal mom which could be both naive and strong. Other cast is as well as excellent. The good thing is Dabis does not try to guide us to a provocative direction or solve any issue. It’s just life as it is.

To whomever it was, thank you for sending me that ticket. Seeing Amreeka was such a lovely thing to do on my Birthday.

The Boys

The second week of Video Construction class we get to see The Boys, a dark Australian film which I had never heard of it until I moved here and saw a TV commercial of the DVD few years ago. The reason is we have a special guest speaker, Stephen Sewell, Screenwriter of the movie.

The movie was a success in art house cinemas in the 90′s. This psychological suspense conveys domestic violence which in depth of men’s views. In the an ordinary Australian suburban, it is the first day out-of-jail of Brett (David Wenham) and he has got everyone home, mother (Lynette Curran), girlfriend (Toni Collette), the two brothers. But the party of this dysfunctional family only lasts for a day when the tensions get escalated into a brutal crime that night by the boys. The best part of the film is how it is structured and executed to build up the emotion of the characters until the end.

Having a chat with the writer after the screening gives us some creative insights, especially how it was adapted from the stage play. But one thing that interests me the most is that the funding government bodies both State and Federal, unlike Hollywood, taxpayers pay for Australian films to be made, rejected the script and would not give the money because of these vicious characters. Fortunately, the stubbornness of these newly-graduated filmmakers made it through and it paid of. Otherwise, we would not see the light of the dark of this film.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Let’s get naked. We are human after all.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

With generosity from Dymocks, Stilgherrian and I have a chance to preview the French version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover which is released in Australian cinemas in October. It swept this year 5 César Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress.

A young, intelligent woman, Constance (Marina Hands) gets married with a wealthy, upper-class, half-paralysed man, Clifford Chatterley (Hippolyte Girardot). The unhappy marriage turns her to have an affair with his gamekeeper, Mr Parkin (Jean-Louis Coullo’ch). The original novel by D. H. Lawrence was a taboo itself with sex scenes between an aristocrat lady and a working class man. It was banned in many country including Australia.

There is nothing new with the plot of a married woman having an affair in the world of cinemas. They all have their excuses to cross the line. Ask Fracesca’s The Bridges of Medison County, Ada’s The Piano, Ju Dou and many main characters that has their quests beyond a married life. It is a kind of monogamous culture’s fantasy and a universal theme that writers always explore the relationship of a woman with her world, especially, before the sexual revolution and women’s lib movement.

Watching the relationship growing between Constance and Parkin is such a pleasure. They start off with sexual tension and develop into far beyond what she has with her husband—four-letter word, love. They strip their feelings to each other as well as their cloths each time they meet until they part.

Marina Hands beautifully portray Lady Chatterley as such a complex character. She combines naivety and intelligence in a perfect spot. She shines from when she sees herself naked in a mirror. The first sex encounter with Parkin, those eyes tell it all. The final sex scene she runs naked in the rains into the woods for him to catch her and end with floral decoration on her body.

This low-budget French adaptation is directed by Pascale Ferran. She interprets the story to contemporary stand, not just a standard costume drama, less of social context, more of character in depth.

It was limited released in French cinema as opposed to high-financed movies both local and from Hollywood studios. Three hours seem not too long at all giving that it delivers the sensuality in every minute of it.