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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hom Rong (The Overture)


Nice change of pace with this Ittisooontorn Vichailak movie. Based on the life of Luang Pradit Pairoh the most revered traditional Thai music that lived during the reigns of Kings Rama V to VII until his dead in the ‘40s.

Here the main character is called Son Silapabanleng and the movie starts when he is a kid and follows a butterfly, making it the most splendorous scene of the movie. Rapidly we find a teen Son that quickly becomes a young man. But in-between we see an elderly Son as the movie moves back and forward in time.

Not knowing much about traditional Thai music this movie showcases the music and to foreign ears sounds quite enchanting and easy to listening. The movie moves basically between how Son became a master and his last days when Thailand was under Japanese occupation and with the end of absolute monarchy, the government banned traditional music, called uncivilized and against modernization.

So there is plenty of drama with rivals ensembles playing and a magnificent solo between Son and the intense Kun In. Also with the elder Son and his subtle way to protest against forgetting about traditions, like it never existed and did not help to form a culture. By the way, Son plays the ra-nad ek that is a sort of xylophone or marimba.

This movie is the winner of multiple Thai and Asia-Pacific awards for Best Music, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.

The cinematography is spectacular especially at the beginning, the acting I find it average (overacted) by young Son and quite good for the elderly Son played by Adul Dulyarat who won the best supporting actor at the 2005 Thailand National Film Association Awards.

Not an oeuvre of art, but quite entertaining and instructive.

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