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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Tsunami follies: a baker's dozen of Thai digital shorts

Bangkok Post’s Kong Rithdee reports on a program of Tsunami Digital Short Films, “shown in two programmes last week at the World Film Festival of Bangkok, glaringly lack is this ability to connect with the audience in any meaningful way. They feel detached, even removed from the real event.
“Each filmmaker – most of them young and upcoming, and not a single one from the tsunami-struck areas – had total freedom to do whatever they wanted in their under-20 minute piece. Each was welcome to make a personal movie from personal memories. But in light of such devastating tragedy, does that mean they can blithely bypass the collective memory of the rest of the nation? … For example, a short called After Shock plunges headlong into the ecstasy of post-December 26 sensation, ending with a scene of a man masturbating in a boat, his body caked with mud and blood and maybe something else. Thunska Pansittiworakul, who directed the part, is Thailand’s most radical provocateur; but I doubt if his brand of raw, risk-taking, politically incorrect movies is a jarring note here. Likewise with Santi Taepanich’s Tits and Bums, the most enjoyable slice in the cake. The movie, also outstanding because it’s the only one that doesn’t include a single shot of the sea, is a hilarious spoof of a karaoke video featuring a sexy model in a cleavage-friendly costume.” In an effort to find drama through fictitious, even experimental means, some filmmakers in this ensemble, talented as they surely are, have forgotten that reality, naked as it is, is the endless source of true, touching and relevant stories. [More frivolity at the link.]

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon