If you see only one film at Fantasia this summerÖ No, really. Carve the number 13 into the back of your hand if thatís what it takes to ensure you donít forget. A rambunctiously over-the-top thriller/horror/blacker-than-black comedy with unbelievable blasts of shock value bursting from its paranoid narrative, 13 Beloved tells the flat-out insane story of Phuchit and his bloody quest for dignity through financial freedom.
On the same day his boss informs him that he has just become an out-of-work working stiff, Phuchitís cell phone rings and a voice asks, ďDo you want to win 100 million baht ($2.7 million)?Ē Phuchit has been chosen by a reality game show! All he has to do is complete 13 tasks that will be conveyed, one after another, via his phone. When the first act is to kill a fly, Phuchit agrees. When the next is to make children cry, he is shaken, but finds a way to do it. He canít see the audience but, through the modern black magic of micro-cams and a wave of conspirators, they can see him, and his cell phone rings with disapproval whenever he falls out of line. The acts get increasingly nastier and, letís say, socially destructive as the numbers climb, taking Phuchit all across town as he jumps through one moral hoop after another, dropping audiencesí jaws deeper into the ground with each of them.
Reality shows have recently begun to hit Thailand, and this is their countercultureís response. When writing about the film upon its local release, several Thai journalists referred to the acts that Phuchit is forced to complete as being something like Fear Factor meets Abu Ghraib, and thatís pretty accurate. This is an audacious film whose fast-moving twists and turns will have you screaming. Director Chookiat Sakweerakul, who at 25 is Thailandís youngest professional filmmaker, based the film on Ekasit Thairatís cult comic book The 13th Quiz Show , and brought the creator on board to co-write the script. He then managed to get Ong Bak director Prachya Pinkaew to come on as co-producer, allowing what should have been a subversive, no-budget underground film to be made on the scale of an epic -- without compromising a drop of its venom. Featuring some of the most oddball and stomach-turning scenarios you could hope to see (or not!), matched with surprising, laugh-out-loud moments of comedy, all whipped together into a killer anti-establishment scream, 13 Beloved is easily one of the wildest films of this yearís festival.
ďA cult classic in the making... A tightly-directed, heart-racing thriller, which is also a smart and thought-provoking satire about Bangkok ís modern-day ironiesĒ - Sorradithep Supachanya, THAI FILM REVIEW
"Excrements, fresh pigís legs used as weapons, a rotten corpse carried by the protagonist on his backÖ Warning! This is the most vomit-inducing film one can expect" - Anchalee Chaiworaporn, THAI CINEMA .ORG
Hosted by Director CHOOKIAT SAKWEERAKUL
WINNER: Public Prize, Gold Fantasia, Best Asian Film, Fantasia 2007
Director: Chookiat Sakweerakul
Screenplay: Eakasit Thairaat, Chookiat Sakweerakul
Cast: Krissada "Noi" Sukosol
Producers: Prachya Pinkaew, Sukanya Vongsthapat
Distributor: Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein co