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December 04, 2006

Legend of Sudsakorn


Kaisorn Buranasing - 2006
Mono Films 35mm Film

One of the most popular films that recently opened is Sudsakorn, based on the epic poem by Sunthorn Phu. With CGI techonology, the filmmakers are able to do what was best done as an animated film thirty years ago. For Western audiences, Kaisorn Buranasing's work shows the influence primarily of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, particularly in the battle sequences. While the intent of the film may be to create a film praising filial duty, the villains of Sudsakorn steal the film from young Charlie Trairat.

Simply based on their laughter, the villains are having the most fun. The chief villain, Usalen, portrayed by Phanudet Watthanasuchat, and an old man known as the Naked Fakir, cackle and chortle throughout the film. The best scenes involve monsters identified as "giant butterflies". These flying creatures resemble the female vampires from Van Helsing only with colorful wings and body markings, and longer fangs. Almost as much fun is watching Charlie Trairat outwit the Fakir and the "giant butterfly" with his magic stick and his steed, a combination horse and dragon. Mention should also be made of Penanee Sungkorn as Sudsakorn's mermaid mother, discretely topless in her scenes.

It may be significant that Sudsakorn is has opened at this time. This year marks the Sixtieth anniversary of current King of Thailand, and this film, as well as the forthcoming two-part epic Naresuan by Chatrichalerm Yukol have agendas that extend beyond entertainment. For the Western viewer, aside from getting an abridged portion of a national epic, Sudsakorn provides a contrast in how a film made for a general audience can be both similar and different from its Western equivalent. In terms of age coupled with his magical abilities, Sudsakorn might be likened to a Thai Harry Potter. Unlike the Harry Potter films, the violence and partial nudity push the PG-13 envelope.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at December 4, 2006 08:15 AM