Sunday, January 23, 2005

News From BIFF

In the end, I never did make it to the Bangkok International Film Festival - too much work. This year's event was scaled down because of the earthquake-tsunami catastrophe. Special screenings were held to honour the victims and much-needed cash was raised during Festival events.

The Festival prizewinners have just been announced. The best film in the international competition was won by the Spanish movie, The Sea Inside, directed by
Alejandro Amenábar. It also won the best foreign film at the recent Golden Globes. The winner of the best ASEAN film was James Lee's The Beautiful Washing Machine from Malaysia. I feel a bit ambiguous about this. James is a real force of nature in the small Malaysian independent film scene, tirelessly promoting not only his own work but that of other local filmmakers. I watched Washing Machine a couple of months ago and didn't think it was that strong. The storyline is simply not interesting enough to carry the film's slightly surreal style. Neverthless the award is bound to be a major boost to the beleagured local film scene which is swamped by the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and Hong Kong blockbusters. Congratulations, James!


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