SEASSI 2012 Film Series
Tuesdays, 7:00 - 9:00pm, 206 Ingraham Hall
More detail on the films will be available soon. (updated 6/17/12)
Tuesday, June 19, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Niang Rumsay Sak (The Princess with Magical Hair). Cambodia, c. 1992. dir. Kong Bun Chhoeun. 105 min. Khmer with English subtitles.
A film based on the traditional Khmer legend of Phnom Sampeou (“Royal Barge Mountain”), this 1992 effort directed by well-known writer Kong Bun Chhoeun is important historically for its part in the first wave of post-Khmer-Rouge Khmer cinema. A prince falls in love with a commoner who was raised by an old sage on an island in a mythical ocean located in present-day Northwestern Cambodia. When the prince's parents insist that he instead marry a princess of a neighboring kingdom with magical powers, the half human/half crocodile “son” of the sage's granddaughter intercedes on his mother's behalf... The movie was shot straight to video and, while featuring far from state-of-the-art effects, includes all the essential elements of a popular Khmer film: magic, romance, attempts at Chinese fantasy kung fu-style fight scenes, and plenty of comedy, and it does possess a certain “heart” and infectious energy. The liberties taken in the film with the traditional legend are also interesting, and will be discussed before and after the film by Khmer Coordinator Frank Smith, who recently subtitled the film in English for the first time.
Tuesday, June 26, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Bẫy Rồng (Clash). Vietnam, 2009. dir. Le Thanh Son. 100 min. Vietnamese with English subtitles.
Clash is a quite impressive action film. It stars Johnny Trí Nguyễn and Ngô Thanh Vân, who also starred in the Vietnamese film Rebel. Triad gangs, a heist caper, gunfights, betrayal, romance, chases, espionage...it's all there. Lots and lots of kung fu fight scenes, too! And one of the toughest characters is the female lead. The cinematography and acting are professional, the fight scenes exciting and well-executed, and there's plenty of tension, suspense and plot twists. In other words, it's pure entertainment...but not mindless entertainment. Clash is a film that respects its audience and doesn't lay out everything for you right away or make it too easy to figure out...so to say anything about the plot wouldn't be fair.
Tuesday, July 3, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Merantau. Indonesia, 2009. dir. Gareth Evans. 134 min. Indonesian with English subtitles.
In this action/martial arts film, a young Minangkabau man from West Sumatra, practitioner of a specialized form of silat, leaves him on a traditional journey of self-discovery, which takes him to the mean streets of Jakarta, where he befriends a poor brother and sister and takes up their cause against a band of thugs. Spectacular fight scenes ensue, in this well-received, award-winning movie.
Tuesday, July 10, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Sabaidee Wan Weewa (Lao Wedding). Thailand, 2011. dir. Sakchai Deenan. 90 min. Lao and Thai with English subtitles.
This is the [Thai] director's third film based on his own experience traveling to Laos for work and falling in love with a Lao woman. All three films are romantic dramas with some comedy thrown in, and combine a "fish out of water" story about a foreigner trying to find his way around an unfamiliar culture with an often-frustrated love story, with lots of missed meetings and misunderstandings. The "wedding" of the title, then, should not be assumed to be a "done deal"...will the cross-cultural romance finally work out in this third installment? The production is Thai, with some of the crew and actors coming from Laos as well. Linguistically, it's about 50/50, with the lead male actor (and his relatives) speaking Thai, and all of the "locals" responding in Lao. Note that this is a very low-key and unhurried movie next to our action-packed entries the first three weeks of SEASSI. It also features lots of beautiful scenery from southern Laos.
Tuesday, July 17, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Paano na Kaya (How Will it Be?). Philippines, 2010. dir. Ruel S. Bayani. Tagalog with English subtitles.
A popular Filipino romantic comedy, with the requisite emblematic pop-song theme song to go along with it. Don't come looking for any more depth than you would from the latest American rom-com...think of it as an hour and 42 minutes escape into a world of beautiful people, sugary-sweet emotions, and predictable resolutions, but in a Filipino cultural setting.
Tuesday, July 24, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Yaak Rak, Ko Rak Lery (Yes or No). Thailand, 2012. dir. Sarasawadee Wongsompetch. 90 min. Thai with English subtitles.
If you see only one SEASSI Film Series movie this summer, make it this one. We choose movies for the SEASSI film series based on a number of reasons, only one of which is sheer cinematic quality. This one was chosen for its quality (as well as its popularity...way beyond the borders of Thailand, too!).
Why, you ask, should you see this movie? It's a brilliant balance, made by an independent director on an incredibly small budget (about $400,000 USD), between a daring, boundary-pushing independent film and a teen-oriented romantic comedy/drama that "pushes all the right popular Thai cinematic buttons" (in a good way); it's the first Thai film ever to feature a love story between two women as its central theme; it features an honest, sensitive, realistic look at a variety of issues in Thai lesbian culture (made by a Thai lesbian director), and it's so incredibly cute (again, in a totally good way!) that if you don't love at least some aspect of this movie, just rent yourself out to a quarry, you're made of stone!!
Highly recommended to all students of Thai language, those interested in lesbian and gender issues in Southeast Asia, and anyone who wants to see clearly the elements that make up a successful Thai teen romance film. Plus, it will only take up 90 minutes of your SEASSI Week Six time!! Bring your handkerchiefs, but prepare to walk away totally uplifted and satisfied. Guaranteed impassioned discussion to follow the film.
Tuesday, July 31, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Taug Lis Yeev Mus Qab Ntuj. (Journey to the Fallen Skies). US, 2010. dir. Bryan Vue. Hmong with English subtitles.
This film tells the story of the journey of a Hmong-American man to Laos, and the personal discoveries he makes there. Due to the length of this film, it will start promptly at 7:00 pm.
Tuesday, August 8, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 206 Ingraham Hall. Free and open to the public with discussion following the film.
Fallow dir. Lin Maw Dar, 2011. Burmese with English subtitles. 10:45
Click in Fear dir. Sai Kyaw Khaing, 2011. Burmese with English subtitles. 9:50
Rope dir. Minn Thaik, 2011. Burmese with English subtitles. 6:00
Ban that Scene dir. Waing, 2011. Burmese with English subtitles. 17:30
Something different for our final entry in the 2012
SEASSI Film Series: Four short films from Burma, all originally
shown at the "Art of Freedom" film festival in 2011, organized
in part and presided over by Aung San Suu Kyi, for which she obtained
special permission from government film censors to show material
which would otherwise have been banned. These are all very short, so
even with discussion (led by Saw Tin and TTW, our SEASSI Burmese
faculty), it won't be a very late night! Come out and see some
creative expression by Burmese filmmakers that is rarely seen
anywhere...these shorts are well-made and thought-provoking,
definitely worth an hour or so out of your busy last week of SEASSI!
SEASSI 2011 Film Series
SEASSI 2010 Film Series
SEASSI 2009 Film Series
SEASSI 2008 Film Series
SEASSI 2007 Film Series
2005 Film Series
direct any questions to the SEASSI Program Coordinator:
Center for Southeast Asian Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
207 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706
phone: (608) 263-1755