Thai cinema doesn’t get much visibility outside of the country, and we at Khao Sarn think that’s quite a shame. So, we’ve decided to highlight three stand outs in particular to help you get a head start in Thai film appreciation 101. You might have to find a subtitled version, but if you do, please let us know what you think. We’re always curious to hear your feedback!
1. The Thai Warrior (Ong-Bak)
In this martial arts extravaganza, Thai stuntman Tony Jaa plays Ting, a young man raised by monks who teach him the art of muay Thai. When he is sent to Bangkok after the head of the town’s Buddha statue is stolen, Ting get something of a rude awakening. He is forced to put his considerable martial arts skills into practice to track down the criminal who stole the Buddha head. Since Ting’s townspeople pray to the Buddha to bring the annual rains, he must retrieve it before the community falls victim to drought and starvation. Though it’s not necessarily an Oscar contender, the stunts are pretty impressive, and the first scene alone is worth a watch.
2. Tears of the Black Tiger (Fah talai jone)
The tag line on this zany Thai film reads, “How the west was won…in the East!” A crazy mish mash of comedy, romance and action, this cult film features impressive cinematography and the classic boy (who just happens to be an outlaw) loves girl storyline. It also straddles the fence between a charming homage and an outright parody of old American-style Westerns – and has even been known to jerk a few tears.
3. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Loong Boonmee raleuk chat)
This beautiful and memorable film was the 2010 Palm d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, so you know it’s worth a watch. It focuses on the final days of Uncle Boonmee, who is surrounded by loved ones as he nears death. However, for Uncle Boonmee that doesn’t just mean his living family and friends, but also those who have already passed – including his wife and son. As he approaches the great beyond, Uncle Boonmee recounts his past lives and travels back to the place of his first birth.
Photo via www.picstopin.com