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Bangkok Love Story


g56whiz
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TLA Releasing http://www.tlareleasing.com/ opened its own 9 day mini-film festival here in NYC at the QUAD Theater this week. It moves to LA and Ft. then Lauderdale later this month. One of the six films showing is Bangkok Love Story, a dark tale of a victim who becomes smitten with his would be assassin (and vice versa) and of that victim’s emerging self-awareness of his complex sexuality. It has run at several gay or independent film festivals on several continents. Bangkok, in all its gritty glamour, figures prominently in the plot, and Asian heartthrob, and Chaivat Tongsaeng, stars as the victim.

 

Damn I wish I could recommend this movie, but alas I can’t for two reasons. As beautiful and interesting as the camera work is, as sensuous and seductive the relationship is (tastefully) developed, and as well acted as it is, this is a Thai movie made for the sensibilities of a Thai audience; so by the time the plot resolves itself in mayhem and suicide, what the Thais may consider melodramatic was received by the many rice queens the audience as laughably farfetched. Moreover, I’m tired of movies in which every gay character ends up dead or somehow impaired. I know this is film noire but still . . . .

 

Will I see it again? Yes. Bangkok Love Story is also a movie about the director, Poj Arnon’s love of this city as he experiences it: not a glamorous travelogue of temples and palaces but of a city of modern grim office towers, dark shop house flats, sleek restaurants and people always on the move. I’ve yet to have that experience. I have a disabled Thai friend and I would like to watch it with him to see his reaction to the hometown he has not visited in many years. Perhaps I can appreciate Bangkok Love Story's tragic ending more without the unsettling audience laughter.

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You want to see the movie a second time, but cannot recommend it? So why not just say you are a masochist and get it over with? :) Maybe a bit of a sadist too if you want to bring your disabled friend!

 

It's coming to LA, but the pictures on the TLA website hardly make it look like a compelling movie to see. So, jokes aside, I am glad to read your review as it probably saved me a few gallons of gas.

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I don't think this film was really made for Thai sensibilities either. I think most Thais also didn't like it. Personally I liked it way better than I expected to. It is more of an "art house" type film than anything else. If the film had Thai sensibilities there would be outrageous screechy drag queen stereotypes and a few ghosts thrown in. The film did win a ton of awards at the Thai film awards but I think those voters don't necessarily reflect the Thai film going audience. Between this film and The Love of Siam gay films really cleaned up at this year's awards.

 

The photography is at times stunning. It does feel a little bit dragged out and it is difficult to really understand the characters and their motivations at times.

 

If you like Hollywood movies with a happy ending and everything neatly tied up with a bow you will hate this movie. But if you appreciate good/interesting cinematography and a somewhat dark story with a little bit of melodrama thrown in you may like it a lot. After reading many not so good reviews I didn't expect to like it very much, but I did in the end.

 

The lead is a total hunk though as well. So I didn't mind watching him, especially when he is shirtless throughout so much of the film.

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Guest zipperzone

I wish you wouldn't use the term "rice queens" as it is quite disrespectful. If you used a similar term to describe African American fanciers, we'd be all over you.

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In retrospect, I too regret using the term “rice queen” not because it is derisive, that’s what I intended, but because it may be imprecise. Being happily partnered to an Asian for nearly two decades, I have become and remain very sensitive to the cultural differences that still separate and in a way define us as individuals from time to time. But there is a subset of Caucasian men attracted to Asian men who remain blissfully unaware or coldly uncaring of these cultural differences and seem to need a position of superiority in order to be somehow sexually fulfilled. It is these individuals, who perhaps expected a more graphic portrayal of gay life in Thailand and who laughed their way through the poignant ending of Bangkok Love Story, to whom I referred as “rice queens”. In my search for brevity I could think of no other appropriate term and wonder if there is one.

 

Thank you Zipperzone for calling me on this. I gaves me the chance for bit greater clarity.

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Guest zipperzone

g56whiz

 

I have a great deal of respect for you for being big enough to acknowledge the questionable use of the term and further explain why you used it. This would be a better board if more of us were this polite and I include myself in that statement.

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Guest zipperzone

>Thank you Zipperzone. As much as I appreciate your kind

>comment I fear that if everyone were as conscientious as we've

>been in this thread these forums might become BORING!!! :-)

>

Well - we could go off the rails once in a while :-)

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  • 4 months later...

So the real love story in this thread is between zipperzone and g56whiz! That's a lot more love than I saw in the movie, Bangkok Love Story, which I watched tonight on DVD.

 

The scenes of Bangkok showed areas I have never seen in my 12 visits there, so maybe none of us Bangkok fans would recognize the city as Bangkok at all. Also, I have never seen such hairy Thai men. I agree that the story is rather ridiculous, and the motivation for the love incomprehensible.

 

Nonetheless, my Asian bf tells me that this is the kind of movie (without the gay part) that he grew up with, so we westerners aren't the best judges of it. But I sure wouldn't watch it again. I thought it was just silly.

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could you at least appreciate the cinematography? I thought that was its strongest point, certainly moreso than the story.

 

And I loved the fact that it took us to parts of Bangkok we would never otherwise see.

 

There are lots of hairy men in Thailand. You just see smooth little things in all the bars because I suppose that is what most farang prefer. I believe that hairy men are more prevalent in northern and northeastern Thailand. I have a good friend here in the states who is, I think, from Phitsanulouk which is near Sukhothai sort of in the central northern part of the country and he has a hairy chest and belly. And I have seen many others. :-)

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>I wish you wouldn't use the term "rice queens" as

>it is quite disrespectful. If you used a similar term to

>describe African American fanciers, we'd be all over you.

 

 

 

All disparaging and disrespectful comments re: racial or ethnic groups are UNACCEPTABLE! My cousin uses the term "poor white trash" and "half breed" in reference to people. She has been called on it innumerable times, as I find those references to be rather OFFENSIVE, too.

 

So, men, beginning on January 1, 2009, begin to use terms which will not offend ANYONE here at this website; that way all responses (we hope) will be highly related to the initial thread! :-)

 

Let us all "turn over a new leaf" and try to remain positive even when forced to disagree!

Keep in mind the following concept: all of us can agree to disagree!

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fed-s, I am glad that you liked the film. Obviously, people have different tastes in film, and enough people liked this one that it made its way to the screens of the USA. It just didn't work for me. I saw nothing loveable about the hitman, but I will concede you that there were some interesting camera shots.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lucky, your Asian BF's reaction to this melodrama was exactly the same as that of my Thai friend. He grew up on this stuff he said.

 

Bangkok is still on my to do list but my Thai friend, who hasn't been back in more than a decade didn't recognize much of the scenery as well. I did like much of the camera work, the use of reflection in water, the stark colors, some of the "mood" shots at dusk and the the rain, the juxtaposition of the high tech train against the rooftop hovel, but having seen it twice, I've seen enough. The second time was to show the DVD to my Thai friend who's housebound in a wheelchair. The DVD has an alternate ending which made even less sense IMHO.

 

Hopefully I'll be off the Bangkok this year to create my own "Bangkok Love Story".

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I can't recommend a visit to Thailand highly enough. Even though I got stuck there during the airport mess and swore I would never go back at the time, I can already tell I won't be able to stay away. Just keep an eye on the political situation when you go. It is a beautiful country with mostly wonderful people. Just make sure you plan to see the real country a bit and the main tourist sites as well, not just the boy bars.

 

I have a good friend who is Thai, but is now a US citizen. He goes back every year or two to see his family. But I don't think he really likes Thailand all that much. I know more about what is going on there than he does.

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I've never been there, but when I think of urban Thailand, I think of pollution, crazy drivers, street vendors of food which may or may be santary, and lots of skinny guys and girls of indeterminate age. And now add to that an unstable government and civil unrest.

 

I'll admit I'm not an adventurous traveller, but assuming any of this imagery reflects reality, I just don't see the attraction.

 

...Hoover

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Once you've been, you either swear you will never go back, or you become enchanted with the land and its people. I have been 12 times, so I guess that says how I reacted. Thailand cannot be judged by Bangkok alone, but the place fascinates me.

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You really can't compare the two films. Very, very different. BLS is very dark, moody, and arty.

 

If you want masculine and dark featured go to the Philippines.

 

It is true that Bangkok is not London or Paris. I have been there a few times now and I am finally just starting to get my bearings. But that is part of the fun of the place. It is a little chaotic and crazy. I think if you are not a patient person you would go insane there and the people would hate you too. You have to sort of surrender to it in order to enjoy. When I go on vacation I tend to not worry much and go with the flow. But you won't find better hospitality anywhere. And Bangkok is not all there is to Thailand. To really get a flavor for the country you have to travel outside of the capital.

 

As for the street vendors, most of the food they sell is incredibly fresh. The key is to look for a vendor with a lot of local customers.

 

Of course there is a bit of an underbelly. Thailand is still a developing, relatively poor country.

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