Ing K's fiercely partial interventions into a deeply divided Thailand riven by political unrest have made her a divisive figure at home. Her vocal broadsides against the "[international film] festival mafia" or "Thai Studies types" (who are often critical of her political affiliations) show that she doesn’t skirt controversy abroad either. Yet there can be no question about it: Ing K’s often troubling and always-forceful films deserve to be seen. This programme – the first UK retrospective of her work – comprises Ing K’s two fictional features and a selection of her documentary works.
Charting new lines through their individual and shared practices Sasha Litvintseva & Graeme Arnfield present a programme that commingles their own recent film works with images collected and re-presented from the disorganised archives of YouTube. Allowing each video to become starting points for each other, the screening aims to dissolve the hierarchies of found, processed and produced material.
Close-Up and Brand New Blinkers are thrilled to present the first UK programme devoted to the films of Joseph Bernard, including a new sound collaboration that Joseph has embarked on with composer Simon Gore, who has scored a soundtrack to Joseph’s White Film.
Shakespeare Must Die is a faithful, word-for-word transposition of Macbeth to contemporary Thailand, meticulously translated by Ing K herself and admixed with local references both mythical and historical. Fusing Shakespearean royal drama with TV soap and Thai folk opera elements – the colourful sets and costumes were handcrafted by artist friends – this fever-dream rendition of ‘the world’s best-known study of tyranny’ doesn’t pull any punches.
A John Waters-inspired no-budget independent movie starring friends of the director and filmed on 16mm, My Teacher Eats Biscuits is a savage and irreverent satire of religious beliefs, tailored to Thai audiences but with wider and indeed universal resonance. In the role of the arch villain: a sacred dog worshipped as His Holiness in a New Age ashram. Banned for 'depravity'in 1998 under a Democrat government, this film will be projected from the only existing 16mm print.
When their film Shakespeare Must Die is banned by the Thai Censorship Board, Ing K and her producer, acclaimed visual artist Manit Sriwanichpoom, don’t take the verdict lying down. Censor Must Die is the chronicle of their seemingly never ending struggle to repeal the ban, waiting in the anterooms of power while judgement is passed behind closed doors. Turns out the reasoning behind the verdict is as labyrinthine and intransparent as the increasingly Kafkaesque government architectures traversed by the two intrepid filmmakers. Curiously, Censor Must Die was itself exempt from the censorship process since, as the ruling went, it was "made from events that really happened."
Ostensibly a documentary about the fatal beating of Juling Pongkanmul, a young and idealistic Buddhist teacher, by an enraged mob in the Muslim-majority South of Thailand, Citizen Juling attends to the wider political circumstances and repercussions of this much-reported event. From encounters with the local population emerges a many-voiced conversation about divisions within contemporary Thai society. Eventually explanations are attempted and judgement is meted out by Ing K and her fellow travellers – but what the film leaves us with, outweighing their necessarily incomplete efforts, is a deep, interdenominational sense of grief.
The importance of ordinary people, the everyday, belief in artistic freedom and the rejection of established cinematic norms are some of the principles common to the early work of Czech director Miloš Forman and the British Free Cinema movement. This programme, marking Miloš Forman’s 85th birthday, and screening from original 16mm and 35mm prints, uncovers for the first time the striking and instructive resemblances in the development of Czech and British cinema which evolved on parallel and sometimes interconnecting courses.