|"Tsu", top left, is an episode in the ensemble of tsunami short films.|
Thailand will be well represented at the upcoming Venice International Film Festival at the end of August. Besides Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century, which has been invited to the main competition, another Thai short film has been selected into Circuito Off: Venice International Short Film Festival, a sidebar event held from Sept 1-7.
The short that has been picked is Tsu, directed by Pramote Sangsorn. Tsu is one of the 13 digital shorts commissioned by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture last year to commemorate the first anniversary of the tsunami tragedy.
Tsu is one of the best works in the 13-piece package. Pramote combines poetic drifts with oblique symbolism, and the result is strangely touching. The film opens with a five-minute-long tracking shot in which we see nothing but two skinny legs staggering across the shallows. Those legs, scarred and injured, belong to the boy who goes around changing the warning flags on the beach from green to red. Later, his legs will heal, but the final shot of the boy dragging his swan-boat is a reminder of how difficult, how heavy, it is for happiness to return.
Pramote is a former child star who had his heyday starring in a number of teen movies and TV series in the early 1990s. He later began making short movies, and some of them have been well received. He's also in the process of trying to get funding for his first feature movie, a step that's increasingly difficult for any filmmaker with a non-mainstream script.
Tsu may draw interest for its individual brilliance, but the 13-film tsunami package has been travelling film festivals in many countries since it first came out last October. This year, they have been screened at Singapore International Film Festival, Hong Kong International Short Film Festival, Vision du Reel in Nyon, Switzerland, Jogya Netpac Asian Film Festival Indonesia, and they will go to the upcoming Pusan International Film Festival in Korea in October.