July 17, 2009

Who would have thought that horror maestro Chukiat Sakweerakul, whose previous efforts include the ghost story Evil and the ultra-violent 13: Game Of Death, would turn out to be such a SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy)?

His latest movie, Love Of Siam, is about two childhood friends who lose touch, only to run into each other again as teenagers, at which point their relationship develops into something more than friendship.

The movie, which is rated M18 here, won four Thailand National Film Association Awards last year, including Best Picture.

Love Of Siam tells a very human story, very sensitively told, and it’s frankly hard to believe that the same guy who directed 13: Game Of Death had anything to do with it.

In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, the 28-year old Thai director revealed that this film is actually much closer to his heart than previous efforts.

‘Love Of Siam is my dream project. I always wanted to do a love story, but in Thailand the market at that time was such that 13: Game Of Death had a greater chance of success.

‘Audiences wanted horror more than they wanted a love story. Fortunately, audience demands began to change, and I got to do Love Of Siam.’

Though the popularity of Asian horror may be waning, and the popularity of love stories on the rise, it must be said that Love Of Siam is not a conventional love story.

Though the subject is handled with great delicacy, this is still a film about a homosexual relationship.

But Chukiat believes his movie is more than that.

He said: ‘I think Love Of Siam deals with various issues in Thailand. It talks about family relationships. It talks about friendship and dreams.

‘All of the things that are all around us. I think audiences love to see all these different elements mixed together, and we mixed them well.’

The film has proven to have universal appeal.

Chukiat feels that this is because he spent such a long time on the script, and drew from various sources of inspiration.

‘I collected love stories from the many people around me,’ he said.

‘The main idea is about how love is important in our lives. I would like to share every different perspective on love with the audience.’

The two young stars of Love Of Siam – Mario Maurer and Witwisit Hiranyawongkul – have received critical acclaim and various awards for their performances.

Witwisit, 20, told The New Paper in an e-mail interview: ‘I worried about my acting. This is my first movie.

‘My character, Mew, looks like a normal boy, but in reality, the character is very complex in terms of his relationship with his family, his society, and his close friend, Tong. I was worried about how my character would be received by audiences.’

In a separate e-mail interview, we asked Mario if the film’s subject matter ever made him uncomfortable.

The 20-year old replied: ‘No, it’s just acting. I read the screenplay and thought it was the best thing I’d seen. I did my best, and the feedback’s been good.’



The NewPaper

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