▌影展專文 Film Essays 1
文 | 查亞寧．田比雅功 Chayanin Tiangpitayagorn
譯 | 劉業馨
經歷 2016 一整年的寂寞空窗期，泰國的電影愛好者總算又可以在電影院看到至少三部本土拍攝的全新劇情紀錄片，包括甫上映便大受好評的《地鐵露宿者》Railway Sleepers（2016，薩波．齊嘉索潘 Sompot Chidgasornpongse）；成功打入全國各地電影市場的《曼谷青春紀事》 #BKKY （2016，南塔瓦．努班查邦 Nontawat Numbenchapol）；還有即將在八月中上映的《當光影不再》Phantom of Illumination（2017， 瓦塔那蓬．萊蘇旺猜 Wattanapume Laisuwanchai）。然而，除了這些受到影展肯定的紀錄片外，泰國每年雖然產出相當多的紀錄短片，但比起鄰近亞州國家的電影作品，卻基於種種因素鮮少有機會登上國際檯面。
麥可的故事 Michael’s（2014，昆那武．彭瑞 Kunnawut Boonreak，48 分鐘）
昆那武．彭瑞畢業於清邁大學民族研究與發展中心，碩士論文研究以「泰緬邊境的羅興亞人遷徙」為主題。《麥可的故事》在 2015 泰國短片與錄像藝術節上獲得泰國紀錄片競賽次獎，該年度的首獎「公爵獎」則是由 《辛瑪琳的人生》Sinmalin 奪下。彭瑞目前任職於泰國人權與調查報導中心。
甜蜜家庭 The House of Love（2015，竇撒朋．里安童 Tossaphon Riantong，23 分鐘）
竇撒朋．里安童從高中開始拍攝詼諧有趣的低成本短片，充分嶄露出攝影天分。在他就讀電影學校期間，創作了一系列精心設計的劇情片、極富挑戰的實驗性電影，及主題私密的紀錄片。《甜蜜家庭》曾入圍2015 泰國短片與錄像藝術節決賽。里安童目前在泰國知名電影片廠 GDH（前 GTH)）擔任劇作家，最新的得獎劇作包括《遊魂惹鬼》The Swimmers（Sopon Sakdapisit, 2014）。
螢火蟲之死 Death of the Firefly （2016，吉拉提卡．普拉松丘 Jirattikal Prasonchoom、帕希．潭達查努拉 Pasit Tandaechanurat，21 分鐘）
吉拉提卡．普拉松丘和帕希．潭達查努拉兩人在叻甲挽先皇技術學院建築系學習電影時，就開始合作拍片以及獨立製作。《螢火蟲之死》在 2016 泰國短片與錄像藝術節上獲得泰國紀錄片競賽次獎。他們更早的合力作品《山谷迴聲》Echoes from the Hill（2014）曾入圍2015薩拉雅國際紀錄片電影節。
「零」先生 Mr. Zero（2016，努查．潭堤維亞皮塔克 Nutcha Tantivitayapitak，42 分鐘）
泰國的政治亂象已長達十年之久，卻仍不見休止的跡象。在情勢最危急之際，「冒犯君主罪」（Lèse-majesté，在泰國通稱「第 112 條」）遭到大量濫用，光是在 2014 政變後就有 82 人以此罪名被起訴，搖身一變成為讓人民閉嘴的蠻橫政治工具。違反第 112 條的被告不僅會受到強烈指責，並通常遭私下審判定罪，連重現被指控的文字或行為也都算是犯罪，最多可能惹上十五年的牢獄之災。在這樣的時空背景下，極少有人膽敢多言，軍政府內部更是噤若寒蟬。本片以作家兼譯者邦迪．阿尼亞（Bundit Aneeya）為主題，年屆七旬、仗義執言的阿尼亞曾三度被控違反「冒犯君主罪」。導演潭堤維亞皮塔克細膩地描繪出阿尼亞的坎坷一生：家庭暴力、進出精神病院的過往創傷、屢屢惹禍上身的政治傾向、身體病痛、與人權律師之間的互動關係，以及受到作家和激進份子圈排擠的邊緣掙扎。片中所有故事和搭建場景都伴隨著阿尼亞朗讀其著作中的字句；阿尼亞在這本自費出版、親筆所寫卻謊稱為譯作的小說中，描寫了馬克．大衛．查普曼（Mark David Cahpman）假想自己是約翰藍儂的幻覺。導演巧妙地揉合紀實與虛構的元素，以實驗性的拍攝手法打破電影分類的界線。《「零」先生》公正地審視阿尼亞的政治觀點，並透露他的悲傷往事，讓人們除了知曉他的審案及精神狀況 （法庭曾一度以精神失常為由而將他無罪釋放，但他卻始終否認這個標籤），得以看到此人更完整的形象。在現今的政治環境下，本片不僅勇敢地觸及敏感議題，更進一步談論法律的原始本質及不公之處，以人道關懷的力量促使我們正視受害者的存在。
本片是導演努查．潭堤維亞皮塔克和合作導演查旺萊．倫薩查羅堤（Chawanrat Rungsaengcharoenthip）兩人就讀於法政大學新聞與大眾傳播系的畢業製作。《「零」先生》在 2016 泰國短片與錄像藝術節奪下首獎「公爵獎」，並得到在日韓兩國上映的機會。潭堤維亞皮塔克曾被 Bioscope Awards 2016 提名為年度新銳導演，目前為 Prachatai 新媒體的記者。
駕崩之日 Sawankhalai （2017, 阿比充．拉塔納巴勇Abhichon Rattanabhayon, 15 分鐘）
《駕崩之日》一片的誕生純屬巧合，但絕對是一部充滿力量、難得一見的紀錄片。在 2016 年十月中，泰國社群網路上瘋傳前任泰皇蒲美蓬健康惡化的謠言，許多人因此湧入蒲美蓬病臥多年的西里拉醫院，其中也包括帶著攝影機的拉塔納巴勇。無巧不成書，拉塔納巴勇在十月十三日來到醫院，而泰皇恰巧就在這天駕崩。他的攝影機捕捉到身著黃衫或粉衫的百姓大聲唱頌國王並為龍體祈福的畫面，以及數小時後當噩耗傳出，現場群眾絕望的悲泣淚水。相對於其他著重實況報導的媒體，拉塔納巴勇帶領我們透過他的視角關注各個細節，一同重新審視所有的畫面。在短短數分鐘內，他銳利的眼光掃過現場群眾的舉止和性格，包括號召群眾唱頌祈禱的集體行為、面對自拍及臉書直播立刻變臉的瞬間，還有跟著父母前來，看著周遭大人同聲落淚而一頭霧水的幼童。這部記錄片不只簡潔有力地捕捉到泰國歷史上（也是世界僅有）的重要時刻，更透過層層剝析泰國人民集體的悲傷，展現了其潛藏的危險性。
自從 阿比充．拉塔納巴勇推出記錄暹羅革命的《六個原則》The Six Principles（2010）後，才氣便受到大眾矚目。而他為電視紀錄片系列所製作的各類小品，也多次入圍泰國短片與錄像藝術節的泰國紀錄片競賽（並曾於 2016 年獲獎）。他經常與泰國獨立電影工作者合作，包括最近在南塔瓦．努班查邦的得獎作品《曼谷青年紀事》#BKKY（2016）擔任首席攝影師。
查亞寧．田比雅功 Chayanin Tiangpitayagorn |
1987 年生，現定居於曼谷，影癡兼獨立影評人。自 2008 年始爲多本泰國雜誌與期刊撰寫影評，同時擔任《Starpics》雜誌「泰國電影獎」以及「曼谷影評人獎」評審。他也是全年度展映系列「Wildtype Middleclass」的協同策展人，此系列著重推介被忽視的泰國獨立製片作品，包括短片、中長度影片及劇情長片。田比雅功曾為釜山影展首映片《W》（Chonlasit Upanigkit，2012）擔任影片首席顧問。2015 年曾參與「山形國際紀錄片影展」影評社群工作坊。此專文為上屆當影展專文《沙漠裡開花：泰國當代紀錄片的境遇》之延伸閱讀，原文將上載至今年影展官網「延伸閱讀」頁面。
Further watching: These Thai short docs deserve more recognition.
After a complete absence in 2016, Thai moviegoers got back their chance to see at least three fresh compatriot feature documentary in theatre this year - Railway Sleepers (2016, Sompot Chidgasornpongse) were released with rave reviews, #BKKY (2016, Nontawat Numbenchapol) got a rare chance by being screened nationwide, and Phantom of Illumination (2017, Wattanapume Laisuwanchai) is now promoting prior to its mid-August release date. Apart from those festival-acclaimed films, although quite many short documentaries being made domestically each year, the international film scene rarely got a chance to see them with various reasons, just like Thai short films in general compared to fellow Asian countries.
That’s why this article would like to give readers a sneak peek of Thai short docs by recommending some outstanding works from recent years, considered from their contents and cinematic approaches. Please don’t miss them at film festivals near you or online with English subtitles, sometimes in the future.
Michael’s (2014, Kunnawut Boonreak, 48 minutes)
Traditional by interviewing and recording lives of its subjects straightforwardly, but Boonreak’s vast knowledge and dedication made it a respectable documentary. The film follows two Rohingya migrants Michael Right and Yameen Michael Muhammad, now you know why it’s called Michael’s. One of them has gotten American citizenship and trying to obtain ones for his family members, while the other one living in a refugee camp at Mae Sot, conditions differentiate their fates yet both still have to struggle for their livelihood in Thailand. The film delicately let us through Michaels’ lives, hopes (also hopelessness), and their visions of future, which could bring you to tears without any tearjerking attempt. With compassion and justice, Boonreak portrayed them as human with dignity and made his film not only telling us specifically about some nameless migrants, which could only ended up in human rights seminar activities for a short period of time, but strong and universal enough to represent all stateless people of this planet.
Kunnawut Boonreak’s master’s degree graduation thesis from Center of Ethnic Studies and Development (CESD), Chiang Mai University is ‘Rohingya Diaspora in Thailand-Myanmar Borderland’. Michael’s won Thai Documentary Competition’s runner-up prize from Thai Short Film and Video Festival in 2015, while Sinmalin won Duke Award (main prize).Currently he’s working for Thai Civil Rights and Investigative Journalism (TCIJ).
The House of Love (2015, Tossaphon Riantong, 23 minutes)
Many Thai students and amateur filmmakers turn cameras towards their families. Those docs could be jolly, funny, nostalgic, sweet, sad, or daring, but none of them would stun you the way The House of Love do. Like a bloody dish served freezing, this personal film is fueled with grudge and resentment within calm manner. Riantong candidly record his family’s daily life then juxtaposed footages with beautiful layered essay of anger, from his point of view, the house’s history was founded on unfaithfulness. The story expands from his father’s affair with another woman until to his grandfather who had eight wives, and all mess in the past, boldly told through images and recollections by the son who couldn’t care less about secrecy and privacy (the woman’s Facebook account was put on screen uncensored). Bizarre and suspiciously common at the same time, this house became a distinctive portrait of Thai families. His parents are still living together and sometimes even joking about dad’s behaviour during dinner, but no one would ever know which kind of complex feelings lay beneath. Absolutely, the blunt approach is ethically questionable or even unacceptable for some, but the outcome is undeniably astonishing and memorable.
Tossaphon Riantong became a fresh talent to watch since his high school days with witty low cost shorts. Within film school period, his filmography is a compilation of well-crafted fictions, challenging experimental films and intimate documentaries. The House of Love was the finalist of Thai Short Film and Video Festival in 2015. Currently he’s a screenwriter for leading Thai film studio GDH (formerly GTH), and his latest screenwriting credit is The Swimmers (Sopon Sakdapisit, 2014).
Death of the Firefly (2016, Jirattikal Prasonchoom & Pasit Tandaechanurat, 21 minutes)
Prasonchoom’s elder brother is mentally-challenged but well-known within the community, not only for physical appearance but also his dedication to Buddhism activities. No surprise, he wants to be a monk but people with certain kinds of disabilities (including mentally-challenged) are prohibited from ordination. Societal judgment is annoying yet understandable, but when so-called ‘receptive’ religion officially joined this judgment is whole another level. Complexity kicks in when both directors led us into further details. Despite his condition, the brother’s still be able to communicate, he even graduated with bachelor’s degree from an acclaimed Buddhist university, and can construct his own arguments upon religious issues profoundly (in one particular scene, while the elder abbot who hesitates to perform ordination struggling with religious details, the brother completes them with confidence). Death of the Firefly raises questions on paradoxical Thai culture of Buddhism, the brother’s denied wish isn’t a rare case of misfortune, but a systematic exclusion. While Thai temples repeatedly citing religious rules against men like him, they easily ignore all rules when it comes to the topic of female monk (bhikkhuni) ordination.
Jirattikal Prasonchoom and Pasit Tandaechanurat both have collaborated and their own solo works while studying film at faculty of architecture, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL). Death of the Firefly won Thai Documentary Competition’s runner-up prize from Thai Short Film and Video Festival in 2016. Their previous collaboration, Echoes from the Hill (2014), was in competition at Salaya International Documentary Film Festival in 2015.
Mr. Zero (2016, Nutcha Tantivitayapitak, 42 minutes)
Thailand’s political crisis passed its decade milestone with no end in sight. During this crucial period, Lèse-majesté laws (commonly known as ‘Article 112’ for Thai cases) were excessively exploited, at least 82 individuals have been charged after 2014 coup d’etat alone, and became an unjust political tool to keep citizens within the spiral of silence because the accused will be heavily stigmatized, the trial usually conducted in secret, reproducing accused phrases or acts also considered a crime, and each offense could land you 15-year jail time. These conditions made it harder for anyone to tackle the issue, and even worse under the military junta. Mr. Zero captures life of Bundit Aneeya, an outspoken septuagenarian writer and translator who has been thrice charged with Lèse-majesté. More than just another static case, Tantivitayapitak portrayed Aneeya’s long life with delicacy, led us through his tragic past involves domestic violence and mental hospitals, his political nature which continuously brought him troubles, his physical sickness, his relationship with human rights lawyers, and his struggles as an outcast even within circles of writers and activists. All stories and constructed scenes were accompanied by Aneeya’s readings of phrases from his titular book, self-published and fakes it as translated novel, about Mark David Chapman’s hallucination of himself as John Lennon. With experimental approach, she creatively blends documentary and fiction elements together, and pushed her film out of cinematic boundaries. Aneeya’s political views were presented here with justice alongside his sorrowful memories, as a completed vision of a man known and dismissed only by his cases and mental conditions (the court acquitted him once due to insanity, but he always denied this label). Surely, this is a brave political documentary according to its time, but further than questioning the law’s primitive nature and unjust usage intellectually, it also opens our eyes towards the victims’ existence with humanity.
Nutcha Tantivitayapitak with her friend and co-director, Chawanrat Rungsaengcharoenthip, created this documentary as their bachelor’s degree graduation thesis from faculty of journalism and mass communication, Thammasat University. Mr. Zero won Duke Award (best Thai documentary) from Thai Short Film and Video Festival in 2016 then got chances to be screened in Japan and South Korea. Later, Bioscope Awards 2016 named her the year’s Fresh Talent to Watch. Currently she’s working as a journalist for Prachatai.
Sawankhalai (2017, Abhichon Rattanabhayon, 15 minutes)
Sawankhalai (the word is used for the royal family members’ deaths) was born out of pure coincidence, yet extremely powerful once-in-a-lifetime documentary. Rumours about King Bhumibol’s deteriorating health were circulating around Thai social networks and reached its peak in mid-October 2016, people flocked into Siriraj Hospital where he was admitted for years, including Rattanabhayon and his camera. It would have been just another typical observational documentary if he didn’t choose to go there on October 13th, same day as King Bhumibol’s death was announced. The camera recorded hours before the crucial moment when people was wearing yellow and pink shirts singing songs praising the King and praying for his health out loud, until when all hopes became tears and filled the place with cries of grief. Unlike most of the press, Rattanabhayon’s documentary wasn’t there just to tell us the situation, but invites us to reconsider and reposition all images through details we’ve seen through his gaze. Within short period of time, his sharp eyes found out some gestures and characteristics of people there, from collective behaviours of some leading others in singing and praying to those looked different with selfies and Facebook live, and little kids with confusion after their parents burst into tears like many other adults around them. This could be perceived as simple powerful documentary about Thailand’s historic moment which cannot be repeated elsewhere, or could be seen as one profoundly dangerous when Thai collective sadness was dissected into layers.
Abhichon Rattanabhayon unofficially named a fresh talent to watch after his Siamese Revolution documentary The Six Principles (2010), and later became a regular finalist for Thai Documentary Competition of Thai Short Film and Video Festival (awarded once in 2016) from wide-ranged short works he made for television series of documentary. He regularly works with Thai independent filmmakers in various positions, including Nontawat Numbenchapol, his latest and first major credit is #BKKY (2016) as the film’s main cinematographer.