10 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 8th Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival

These are five features and five shorts you shouldn’t miss at the Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival (Thailand) which is taking place from January 20 – 25, 2023 at the Paragon Cineplex and SF World Cinema.

– Feature Films –

Children of the Mist by Ha Le Diem – Vietnam | 2021 – 92 minutes

Di is a 13-year-old Homong girl living in a village lost in the mist of North Vietnamese mountains. Despite being the first generation to receive education, she cannot escape from the custom still remains in her tribe: the bride kid-napping. The film follows Di who is eventually kidnapped by a boy her age and captures the moment when a beautiful and precarious childhood disappears with the tension between traditional and modern ways of life.​ (DMZ Docs 2022)


Glorious Ashes by Bui Thac Chuyen – Vietnam, France, Singapore | 2022 – 116 minutes

Everyone’s lives are intertwined in the idyllic fishing village Thom Rom where the story (an adaption of the author Nguyen Ngoc Tu’s works) unfolds. The cheerful Duong’s life is made miserable by her husband’s bitterness over the love of his life, Nhan, having married another man. Against all odds and the prevailing patriarchal order a warm friendship slowly develops between Duong and Nhan while both their homes are falling apart. In another part of the village, surrounded by sometimes calming and sometimes threatening water, Loan is doing her best to exact revenge for a crime but is caught off guard by an unusual and not un unproblematic turn of events. (Göteborg 2023)


Itim (The Rites of May) by Mike De Leon – Philippines | 1976 – 107 minutes

A Filipino classic from the director Mike De Leon, “Itim” is part ghost story, part family drama, and part an examination of cultural and religious obsessions. The film tells the story of a photographer who returns to his rural hometown to visit his father, a retired doctor who became paralyzed after a car accident. There, the man is haunted by the secret of his clan as he begins a friendship with a local girl, a mysterious and beautiful Teresa. The 1976 film has recently been restored and premiered at Cannes Classics in 2022.

Lost Love by Ka Sing Fung – Hong Kong | 2022 – 95 minutes

A married couple rediscovers the feeling of parenthood by fostering children after the painful loss of their own child.

The Novelist’s Film by Hong Sangsoo – Korea | 2022 – 92 minutes

You have to remove your blinkers to see Hong Sang-soo’s new film, and also get used to his sometimes blinding black and white. What is there, “in front of your face” to reprise the title of a previous film by the Korean master, as immense and tiny as The Novelist’s Film? A round made of coincidences and reunions that leads a woman writer who no longer writes to meet an actress who no longer acts. The actress is played by Hong Sang-soo’s muse, Kim Min-hee. Like the other characters, she is filmed from a distance. Then suddenly, in extremis, our eyes open wide to flowers, colours, her face, a camera; then suddenly we see: a declaration of love and a film from cinema or, in other words, the same thing. AR (3 Continents 2022)


– Short Films –

Further and Further Away by Polen Ly – Cambodia | 2022 -24 minutes

A young indigenous Bunong woman and her older brother spend one last day in their rural village in northeastern Cambodia, before an impending move to the capital city in search of a more prosperous life.


Please Hold The Line by Tan Ce Ding – Malaysia | 2022 – 19 minutes

A young scam call operator is thrust into a moral dilemma as she frantically hustles for money to afford an abortion.


Ride To Nowhere by Khozy Rizal – Indonesia | 2022 – 15 minutes

It is her first day living as a motorcycle taxi driver and she has to do something to prevent order cancellations.


Rocks In A Windless Wadi by EJ Gagui – Philippines | 2022 -23 minutes

The filmmaker and his younger brother filmed a wadi they describe as “windless” for being too quiet. With archives of footage and audio conversations, it recreates a lonely character contemplating the deep muffled voices of the unseen real people, stillness of rocks to the unmoving conflict. The dialogues within the wordless exposé tackle traumatic memories as they become urgent stories relevant to both the past and the present.


Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Alvin Lee – Singapore | 2022 – 19 minutes

A funeral director finds himself hapless when the wrong body has been sent for cremation. When there seems to be no other way, he devises a plan for a sham funeral with the deceased’s three estranged children.


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