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Un-Boo-lievable Halloween in Chiang Mai

European Union Film Festival:The Remaining Films


Un-Boo-lievable Halloween in Chiang Mai

Halloween, a wildly popular event in the U.S., came to Chiang Mai this October 31, with many residents taking the time to join in the fun by dressing up in costume. DusitD2 Hotel, the Imperial Mae Ping, Club Martini and many other venues hosted Halloween parties with many participants joining in the fun. Ghouls ghosties and many other scary and not so scary costumes were seen.
While Halloween has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, and was originally called All Saints Day, or All Hallow’s Eve, in the Christian calendar, it is now a largely secular celebration often involving intricate costumes, traditional Halloween games like bobbing for apples and playing pranks (the term “trick or treat” comes from the tradition that children are either given a treat or they will play a trick on the hapless homeowner). It seems that most Chiang Mai residents enjoyed the treats, rather than the tricks.


European Union Film Festival: The Remaining Films

Mark Gernpy
Based on reviews, here’s what you can expect from the four remaining films not covered last week:
The Viceroys (2007) – Tue Nov 10 at 6:30 pm, and Sun Nov 15 at 5:15 pm. –
Beautifully set, gorgeously shot, this is one of the best costume dramas to come from Italy in the past two decades.  It takes place in southern Italy in the 18th - 19th centuries, where a noble family of Spanish origin faces an intense internal struggle to survive the political movement - led by Garibaldi - that condemns the noble families and seeks to unite Italy as one nation.  In the film, you can see how dysfunctional this family was, and how it seeks to keep the power and authority it has always had even under the new political system.  Based on a novel by Federico De Roberto that set off a scandal at the end of the nineteenth century, and which was banned for 100 years, the film recounts the history of Sicily through the history of one its noble families, along the lines of Visconti’s great classic, ‘The Leopard’.
The Collectress (2008) – Tue Nov 10 at 8:45 pm, and Sun Nov 15 at 11:50 am. –
Gaile is a speech therapist for children living in Vilinus.  Upon the death of her father, Gaile loses the ability to feel emotions, morphing into a cold, blank shell of a human being.  She encounters an amateur film maker and editor, and, surprised by his artistic talent, Gaile finds that only by watching his films can she feel true emotions.  After watching one movie, Gaile becomes addicted to the films and the emotions they produce.  She demands more, and when real-life events unsatisfactorily fill her emotional vacuum, Gaile decides to create scenarios for the film editor to capture, so that she may once again begin to feel.
At first Gaile’s simulated situations are humorous and awkward; her relatively harmless pranks include passionately kissing a groom as he leaves a church, just minutes after his wedding - his bride a few feet away.  Soon, however, Gaile decides that “laughter is not enough” and craves to feel darker emotions.  Her planned situations take an almost evil, sociopathic turn; Gaile needs sadness, disgust, and betrayal, and succeeds by physically or emotionally hurting innocent bystanders.  In doing so, she becomes alienated from her family and friends.  The Collectress, though fascinating, nearly becomes painful viewing: painful because of the knowledge that human beings are capable of such deeds.
Sounds Like Teen Spirit (2008) – Sat Nov 14 at 3:30 pm. (only showing) –
Ten to fifteen-year-old kids compete in the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, undeniably a garishly colorful event.  And of course the kids are cute.  The event is treated with just the right mix of affection and amusement without condescension, making this an irresistible crowd-pleaser.  There’s major kitsch value in most of the performances, complete with gaudy costumes and choreography redolent of high 1980s New Wave/spandex tackiness.  But the earnest creative naiveté is endearing, the personalities even more so.  Such likable contestants are easy to root for, whether their talents suggest viable adult careers or not.  Director Jamie Jay Johnson (who provides funny narration on occasion) charts their thrills of victory and agonies of defeat in a thoroughly entertaining film.
Ben X (2007) – Sat Nov 14 at 7:30 pm. (only showing) –
Generally favorable reviews - Ben is different and his life is a universe all unto itself.  He has Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism that prevents normal communication, and while he is a courageous hero -”BEN X” -in the fantasy on-line gaming world that consumes him, in his daily life Ben is tormented by bullies and ignored by apathetic teachers.  As the bullies’ relentless attacks push him over the edge and out of control, his on-line dream girl appears to him and helps him devise a perfect plan to confront the bullies and make them pay for their torment.  Director Nic Balthazar’s dazzling debut blends fantasy and harsh social realism.  Based on a true story, this is an utterly original film.