Photographer Supachai Ketkaroonkul, 2nd left, is joined by British Honourary
Consul Ben Svasti Thomson (left), Aracha Boon-Long of Muang Muang, 2nd
right, and French Honorary Consul Thomas Baude (right) for the reception at
the Lanna Architects Association.
By Shana Kongmun
The Lanna Architects Association Building, also known as
the Khum Chao Buriratna building, is a beautiful, historic old building in
the colonial Lanna style with beautiful gardens out front and magnificent
teak floors inside. And despite a bit of drizzle, was still a magnificent
location for the opening party showcasing the evocative photos of Paris by
Photographer Supachai is seen here with one of his more classic photos from
The show, titled Verse/Reverse or, in the more
appropriate French, “Paris, l’endroit et l’envers” is sponsored by Muang
Muang.org and the Chiang Mai Alliance Fran็aise and will run until November
30. Just down Ratchadamnoen road from the U Hotel, the beauty of the inside
is hidden behind high walls but well worth the visit.
Supachai’s photos must be of interest to native Parisians
as well as to those who love the city or would just love to visit as its
clear he spent his 6 years in Paris wandering to all sorts of nooks and
crannies hidden around this beautiful city. As French Honorary Consul Thomas
Baude pointed out, his photos evoke the timeless Paris, “Some of these
photos could have been taken yesterday or 50 years ago.”
Running until November 30, the Lanna Architects
Association can be found at the intersection of Ratchadamnoen and Phra
On October 17th a small group from
the Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival set off for a rare treat in
Bangkok. Arranged through Silpakorn University and assistant secretary to
the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, Tasana Nagavajara, the
group was first given a personalized tour of the Phya Thai Palace, built in
the early part of the last century by the son of King Chulalongkorn, Rama
VI. Then the highlight was the evening musical performance in the totally
refurbished theatre in the grounds of the palace where no less a music
maestro than Luigi Piovano, lead cellist with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra in
Rome was to be soloist and conductor of the Princess Galyani Vadhana
Orchestra with Tasana leading. Wow! What a performance it turned out to be –
playing his 1795 London-made cello - Luigi gave a stunning performance of
the Arpeggione Sonata transcribed by himself for his rare five-stringed
cello and string orchestra. So what on earth is an arpeggione you may well
ask? Well, it was an instrument invented in Vienna in 1822 and was a kind of
cross between a classical guitar and cello, but with frets yet played with a
bow. One of Schubert’s friends bought one of these new instruments but there
was no music written for it. So the great composer quickly obliged and
provided him with this sonata normally performed with piano accompaniment.
The concert then was totally Italian – a rare piece of orchestral music,
Crisantemi, by Puccini, a Vivaldi Flute Concerto and one of the three sets
of Ancient Airs and Dances by Respighi. Acoustically the beautifully
restored hall is excellent and the orchestra conducted by this dynamic and
charming man, gave us all a stunning performance of everything.
But the night had only just begun as the little group
joined Luigi and Tasana with some members of the orchestra for a slap-up
Italian meal after the performance – quite a night since at midnight it was
the start of Luigi’s birthday! This charming warm-hearted man is a real
master musician and on his next tour of Asia when he will play the Dvorak
Cello Concerto in Japan this time next year, we hope that he will be a guest
performer at the Friends of the Chiang Mai Music Festival here in Chiang Mai
– he certainly leapt at the invitation since he loves to perform in new
places and bring joy and happiness to the music-loving public. Tasana will
be performing in Chiang Mai this coming December, when on Friday 3rd
he will be joined by Dr Pornphan Banternghansa on piano with a selection of
Chopin pieces and the Cesar Franck Violin Sonata for the Friends of the
Chiang Mai Music Festival. A similar but extended program will be given in
San Kampaeng in the Vichit Studio on Saturday December 4th
at 3.00pm, open to the public. Fuller details will appear later.
The whole excursion was a thing of beauty and full of
exceptional memories. As maestro Luigi announced during the concert: ‘Music
is one of the major ways of communication where language is often a barrier
– but more than that, it brings people of all views, opinions and beliefs
together uniting them in a unique manner’. How true that is! And how
wonderful to have shared in this quite remarkable experience, with similar
ventures being repeated on future occasions.
By Mark Gempy
The grand opening of the Doi Saket Film Festival at Wat
Doi Saket on October 23 was a stupendous success from one point of view: The
evening made it clear that the organizers meant what they said when they
said they wanted a community affair, where contemporary films (particularly
Thai) were shown free to ordinary Thais who couldn’t afford to go to a
Cineplex. They were savvy enough to combine the opening with a temple fair,
and on a particularly big Buddhist holiday at that. So they had a huge crowd
- whole families were there, plus all their sponsors had booths, there were
all sorts of traditional entertainment, from drum playing to Thai dancing.
They were hawkers touting their goods, and a lot to eat. The families had a
good time, mine included. And for the first two films they had picked really
grass-roots films about kids and young people, and the audience was
mesmerized, even the kids.
They did rather goof in one crucial area. They started
showing the film program exactly one hour earlier than scheduled, the time
they had been saying all night that they would begin. They started at 7:30,
not 8:30! They had a dance and music show and then showed previews and
commercials, and even as the 7:30 time was approaching, there were rumors
that they were going to take an hour break before the main show started. But
they didn’t, and so it started one hour earlier than they had said it would.
Two of my friends had come earlier in the afternoon, been told the movies
would start at 8:30 and so left to eat with two of their friends to come
back at 8:30. Not cool.
The first film was wildly melodramatic, touching very
basic themes of Thai family life. This was I-Jang: The Woodcarver, by
Kornwalai Chai-in. Everybody could relate to it. Way overly-emotional, but a
certain skill in the filmmaking. My Thai friend, who never sees films, told
me on the way home that he really liked the first movie — I think, much to
The second film, Hand-Painted Feathers / Kinulayang Kiti,
by Richard S. Legaspi, was very similar, this time about life and death
issues, but was Filipino, and in Tagalog with English subtitles but not Thai
subtitles (which probably would not have done much good anyway).
Nevertheless, everyone could pretty much follow what was going on.
The kids in the audience alternated between being
mesmerized by the film and the whole ambience, and suddenly getting restless
for a little while and doing a bit of running before sitting down and
getting engrossed again. In a way, that’s the way the vast majority of the
audience acted as well.
After the first film, the director and one of the actors
were introduced to enthusiastic acclaim, and they spoke a bit and there was
some joking around, and the audience got the idea that these film folks
aren’t that strange after all, and why don’t we come to these things more
often? Score one for the festival.
The third and last film was probably the most serious of
them all, and has gotten some measure of acclaim. This was Lost and Found,
directed by Noth Thongsriphong, a Thai drama which at 47 minutes is one of
the longer entries in the festival. It’s a slower and more meditative
offering, which I did not stay to see. They had moved outside to show this
one on the grass and cement, without chairs, and although they offered to
get me a chair from outside, I said no. I just didn’t like the added noise
and distraction outside, and the lesser quality sound, and the discomfort,
and most importantly because of the mosquitoes.
Gauging from the crowds - many more people than they had
expected - and the response I could feel all around me, the people in
general had a very good time indeed and were glad to have come. So, I count
it a success for them.
The event ran through October 30 and showed films from
around the world, around the city and the province.
For films visit: http://dsiff.tumblr.com/films