PODCAST| Matt Micucci interviews Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, director of the film Samui Song.
To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture
Filmmaker Pen-Ek Ratanaruang presented his latest film, Samui Song, at the 2nd International Film Festival & Awards Macao. We had already met him in Venice, where this film of his premiered, so we took the opportunity in Macao to ask him broader questions about his working method as an artist. He tells us about how he is influenced by random images he encounters in his everyday life; for instance, for Samui Song, he was inspired by such things as a chance encounter with an actress at a supermarket and reading about a shady organized religion in the newspaper. After that, he starts to visualize a story as a film. Nonetheless, Ratanaruang also tells us that he understands that the film remains a constant work in progress, arguing that it is even impossible to control everything during production. He brings up the name of Alfred Hitchcock to prove his point, arguing that the British cineaste may not truly have believed, for instance, in his famous statement that “actors are sheep,” thinking that there is no way that Hitchcock could have told an actor like Anthony Perkins in Psycho how to move and where to stand. Ratanaruang also talks about how his own opinion of his own previous films changes over time. “When you become a bit older,” he says, “you start to accept your limitations [and] your mistakes.” Nonetheless, his films are always talked about very well, which prompts the question of whether he got, or could ever get, used to praise. Ratanaruang also programmed a film in the Crossfire section of the festival. This section was a cultural exchange where Asian filmmakers were asked to pick one Western genre film and Western filmmakers were asked to pick one Asian genre film to screen during the festival. Ratanaruang’s choice was the famous Ealing studios British feature Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), directed by Robert Hamer and starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness. He tells us why he chose this film and recalls the time when he first watched it.
Samui Song: Viyada, a Thai soap opera actress in her 30s, is married to Jerome, a rich foreign national. Though their marriage started out happily, Jerome has lately become increasingly controlling as he gets more involved with an alternative religious sect founded by a powerful figure named the Holy One. When Jerome apparently allows the Holy One to violate his wife, Viyada responds by hiring a suave drifter named Guy Spencer to kill her husband for a fee. A murder plan is set, but, when it all goes wrong, Viyada and Guy both find themselves in mortal danger.
Kind Hearts and Coronets: Son of an aristocrat and a commoner, Louis d’Ascoyne Mazzini is ninth in order of succession of a British dukedom. With meticulousness and imagination, he eliminates the eight members of the d’Ascoyne family who separate him from the coveted title. Sentenced for another crime he did not commit, he writes his memoirs in prison. In his manuscript, he tells with panache how he eliminated the members of his family.