The year 2006 is one of real significance for all Thais, as they commemorate the Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Accession to the Throne. To honor their beloved King, they arranged a yearlong Grand Festival of Events nationwide and BKKIFF is one of those events.

The Fourth Annual Bangkok Film Festival filled with an array of exiting events, including Golden Kinnaree Awards, Film Market with informative seminars & workshops, Daily Press Conferences, Cinematographer’s Day, Master Classes and Conversations, as well as an international film extravaganza that includes documentaries, feature films, shorts, special presentations, animation presentations and films in competition.

Festival announced this year’s award recipients in recognition of their creative talents and many contributions to the film industry. Actress Catherine Deneuve (Lifetime Achievement Award), Actor Sombat Metanee (Lifetime Achievement Award), Cinematographer Shoji Veda (Asian Perspective Award), Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Crystal Lens Award), Wouter Barendrecht & Michel J. Werner of Fortissimo Films (Merit Award) and a tribute to the late, great Gene Kelly.

BKKIFF officially began on February 17th evening with a grand Opening Night Celebration and Film Premiere of Invisible Waves, (English/Japanese/Thai – 2006) a film by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Thailand very own award-winning director. Violent, moody and atmospheric, this film stars Japan’s highly-acclaimed actor, Asana Tadanobu, in the lead role as Kyoji – desperate man on the run after killing his lover, Seiko.

Closing film was the Rent (USA – 2005) directed by Chris Columbus, based on Puccini’s classic opera La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s revolutionary rock opera Rent tells the story of a group of bohemians struggling to live and pay their rent in the gritty background of New York’s east village.

BKKIFF organizers have unveiled the 81 films that will screen in the Festival’s five competition sections: International, ASEAN, New Voices, International Documentary and Films in Short.

Fipresci Jury has to award their Diploma to Best Asean Film. Out of 14 films we have discussed about 4 films lengthy. They are Bride of Silence, Magdalena, The Tin Mine, Journey from the fall and some jury members having individual interest of the films names Ahimsa Stop to Run, Gie , Jony’s Promise and Gravel Road. 

Fipresci Jury has unanimously decided to award the Fipresci Prize to Bride of Silence as the Best Asean Film.

It forced to pick me because Bride of Silence is an interesting film that depicts a fascinating legendary folk tale, like story while unexpectedly creating a defiant image of woman. The structure of the film has some references to the Chinese cinema of the fifth generation. This film recalls me the narrative structure of Rashomon by Kurosawa. It tells a tale of different perspectives on history and the truth via non-linear, slithering, temporality. Many years ago in Vietnam on his deathbed, Hien’s stepfather Tuy starts to tell him about his mother, but dies before he can reveal all. 17 years old Hien then goes on a journey to find the truth about his mother. Hien’s mother was ostracized by the village people for having become pregnant, the unmarried, refused to reveal the name of the father. She was ordered to throw the newborn baby away into the river. Just when the villagers were about to throw away the baby, thunder & lightering lit up the sky and in the midst of the confusion, few villagers are dead by lightening. At that point in telling the story, Tuy hastily breathes out his last breath. Bride of Silence hides within itself an unexpected theme. It depicts the relationship of an ideal love between one-woman and three men outside the realms of traditional society but it ends in tragedy.

The interesting thing about the film is how the heroine is portrayed in the process. It is specially inspiring in the way she lives with courage and a strong sense of self outside the traditional ways demanded from male dominated society. According to some critics they consider Bride of Silence is the Vietnam’s first feminist film. The photography of the film is quite remarkable. It has captured the natural beauty and the haunted atmosphere of the rural Vietnam and the darkness of their inner souls. The smooth editing style keeps the audience tightly to follow the story line. Music is also closely integrated to the theme and it gives this movie overwhelming melancholy feel.

Two directors Doan Minh Phuong and Doan Thanh Nghia were born in Saigon. When the war ended, Phuong went to Germany and Nghia went to the U.S. Returning to Vietnam in the early nineties, the sister and brother team have re-created the atmosphere of pre-colonial Vietnam and captured the essence of this romantic legend with great beauty after ten years effort. This is their first feature film and it received Tiger Award (Special Mention) – 2005 Rotterdam International Film Festival.

The Golden Kinnaree Award for the Best Film of the main jury bagged by Water (Canada/India) directed by Deepa Mehta and Award for the Best Direcor has won by Park Chan-wook for his film Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Korea). Princess Ubolratana presented all the Awards.