CelebritiesMoviesTVAnimationFilm Industry

Top 10 Contemporary Thai Movies You Must Watch

Updated on January 30, 2017

Thailand's film industry is one of the most underrated in the world. Sure, their commercial entertainment industry is dominated by horror movies but they have an alternative cinema that has some of the most varied and relevant subjects. Their films subjects are not limited to poverty, homosexuality, or love stories. They have proven that they have the ability to take everyday and ordinary subjects and twist it to make great films.

Below are some of the contemporary Thai movies you MUST watch.

10 - Blissfully Yours

Synopsis

One of the more popular works of young Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Blissfully Yours is a love story that is less of a narrative-driven film and more of an impressionist glimpse on a love triangle between a young man named Min, his girlfriend Roong, and an older woman named Orn, who was hired to take care of Min. Matters are complicated by the fact that Min has developed an unexplainable rash but can’t get it looked at for fear of being exposed as an illegal immigrant.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

Blissfully Yours is worth watching because it’s one of the few films that tackle the grim reality of Myanmarese immigrants struggling in Northern Thailand, while framing it within a slow-moving narrative that showcases the dreamlike beauty of the mountainous border region between Myanmar and Thailand. The stark contrast between the two running plot points makes for a film that tries to be more of an experience than a story.

9 - I Carried You Home

Synopsis

I Carried You Home follows two sisters – Pann and her older sibling Pinn. Their mother traveled from a small Thai village all the way to Bangkok in order to see Pann, but was rebuffed by Pinn in favor of going out with her friends. The mother got into an accident and died on the hospital bed. The two estranged sisters now have to travel together and return the remains of their deceased mother to their hometown.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

The film is a must watch for people who enjoy slow moving films that hide quirkiness and a dark sense of humor underneath. It’s an effective family drama that happens outside of the house and with only half of the family still alive.

8 - Tropical Malady

Synopsis

Another offering from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Tropical Malady has two stories that use the same actors for different roles – first focuses on a forbidden relationship between two men, and the other is a about a soldier lost in the woods after being cursed by the spirit of a shaman.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

If you’ve already watched Blissfully Yours or familiar with Apitchatpong Weerasethakul’s reputation, Tropical Malady deserves a viewing. It still showcases the director’s penchance for non-linear narratives and slow-burn scenes, but contains more interesting plot elements that include folk tales and the supernatural. The film has won the Jury Prize from the jury that’s headed by Quentin Tarantino, of all people.

7 - It Gets Better

Synopsis

It Gets Better is a film that delves into the lives of three different individuals in the LGBT community in Thailand. Told in three segments, the film starts with a young man who’s returning to Thailand in order to inherit his father’s gay bar. The second is about a young boy who was sent to a Buddhist temple for repentance after being caught dressing in women’s clothes, and the third is about an aging transsexual who visits a remote village and meets a young man who immediately falls for her.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

Aside from the fact that the production values are high enough to be mistaken for a Hollywood film (featuring gorgeous set pieces and beautiful locations, not to mention the eternally beautiful Penpak Sirikul playing an aging transsexual), It Gets Better is also a fine example on how to create a film about the LGBT community without resorting to extremes. The issues gays and transsexuals are dealing with are not downplayed, but they’re not shoved into the viewer’s face either. It’s a film about normal people who are dealing with situations and problems that are made unique because of how the world perceives (or in some cases, judges) them.

6 - HeadShot

Synopsis

Based on Win Lyovarin’s “film-noir novel,” HeadShot is an intense action film that follows a cop-turned-hitman as he suffers the effects of surviving a bullet to the head (hence the title.) After waking up from a coma state, the man finds out that he is now seeing everything upside-down. Further complicating matters is that his past has returned to haunt him, can he survive the threats to his life even with his affliction?

Why Do You Have To Watch It

HeadShot on its own is already a decent action film. The production values are decent enough to be an international release, and the actors do their job well. The story is what makes it unique. It’s still your average fallen-hero-trying-to-get-back-on-his-feet story, but the added twist of having to fend for himself while seeing upside down makes for some really tense, pulse-pounding action scenes.

5 - Poor People the Great

Synopsis

From industry veteran Boonsong Nakphoo, Poor People the Great tells the story of a man named Choo, who’s estranged from the fast-paced modern world. In an era where everyone is zooming around on motorcycles and cars while talking on their smartphones, Choo tries to find work while pedaling his bicycle around town, making calls on payphones.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

Poor People the Great is worth watching because it’s a huge change of direction for Boonsong Nakphoo. Whereas Nakphoo made his name from comedies like Crazy Cops, Poor People the Great is an indie mock-documentary style feature with dramatic overtones.

4 - Mundane History

Synopsis

A strong debut from Anocha Suwichakompong, Mundane History is a heavy drama about a paralyzed man from a wealthy family, his male nurse, and the friendship that developed between them. The film is a look into the intricacies of a class-based society and its effects on people’s dreams and daily lives.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

Despite the title and the dreary subject matter, Mundane History is worth a viewing as it uses a non-linear narrative in order to build the story from top to bottom, and plays around a bit with people’s expectation especially with regard to how things should turn out at the end.

3 - Slice

Synopsis

Slice is a murder mystery thriller from director Kongkiat Komesiri, focusing on a convict who’s been tasked by a corrupt policeman to track down a notorious serial killer. It is believed that the serial killer, whose main M.O. is to stuff bodies of male victims inside a red suitcase, is trying to send a message to the convict. The chase for the truth takes the convict back to his hometown, where the connection between him and a young boy he befriended when he was still a kid.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

If you like a disturbing, bloody mystery full of clever twists and turns, you need to watch Slice. Just be sure to check any inhibitions at the door – the film is full of gore and is very graphic. If you can stomach the film’s aggressive tone, then you will be rewarded with a deeply engrossing thriller that keeps you guessing until the climax.

2 - The Love of Siam

Synopsis

The Love of Siam is a multi-layered family drama that also delves into the relationship between two teenage boys: the soft-featured yet stubborn Mew and the masculine, energetic Tong. Their relationship blossomed when Tong defends Mew from constant bullying at school, being injured in the process. Complicating matters is Mew’s female neighbor Ying, who develops a crush on the young man and obsesses over him to the point of trying out ridiculous methods like charms and voodoo dolls.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

The biggest draw of The Love of Siam is that it tackles a normally controversial subject: that of love between two boys, but manages to frame it within the context of a mainstream family-friendly movie. The romance between the two boys is treated with respect and not played for shock value, though majority of the necessary conflicts arise due to their unorthodox pairing. This is a film that challenges common prejudices against same sex relationships, without going to the extremes or purposely offending close-minded people. Watch this if you just want a feel-good romantic film that just so happens to be about two persons of the same gender.

1 - Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy

Synopsis

Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy is a very unique film, regardless of country of origin; a dark comedy that follows the story of an angsty high-school girl and her best friend Suri. The premise is certainly nothing new: a teenage girl trying to figure out life, lover, and herself. Countless other films have already tackled the subject. What Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy has going for it is the delivery – the film has quirkiness, wit, and a freshness that helps elevate the film beyond its peers.

Why Do You Have To Watch It

See how they were able to create an engrossing film experience from something mundane: Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy is based on 410 tweets from a user named Mary Malony (@marylony), with each tweet serving as a title card for the film’s scenes.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.