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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        12  May 2011

Thai films score in Indonesia

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The film tax fight that has prevented Hollywood blockbusters from making it into Indonesian theaters has had at least one interesting side effect, turning quirky Thai romantic comedies into local favorites.

The popularity of these films was prompted by the huge success of “Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story,” which earned enough positive comment to extend its time in local theaters.

The positive feedback from audiences has encouraged the second-biggest cinema chain in the country, BlitzMegaplex, to continue importing romantic comedies from Thailand.

Immediately after “Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story,” audiences were treated to the Seoul-set Thai film “Hello Stranger.” After a string of other kooky Thai romantic comedies, the genre this year delivered a Pygmalion-like teen story in “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

And for the last two weeks, the Thai romantic comedy “Suck Seed” has been sitting on top of the local box office charts, and with the lack of competition from Hollywood big shots, it could remain there for some time.

“Suck Seed” bears a striking similarity to the previous films. It also takes a cue from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” both in its look and story, and stacks up against 1980s American teen films.

Most Thai romantic comedies seem to share a similar storyline. Due to a misunderstanding or some chance event, the main characters don’t see each other for a prolonged period of time and then are reunited under unexpected circumstances.

Call it formulaic, but even so, “Suck Seed” is complemented by outstanding production techniques. The film hardly feels cheesy with the out-of-center frames and the addition of animation into the story. It also doesn’t hurt that pieces of popular rock songs are interspersed within the film’s narrative.

The Thai romantic-comedy genre has a certain movie-magic quality that takes it beyond the realm of romantic cliches.

Believable performances, strong narratives and intriguing sets are enough for audiences to keep coming back to see similar stories over and over again.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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