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Out Of Nowhere - A Good Thai Gay-themed Movie!


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#1 lothda

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Posted 2007-11-24 08:39:19

If you go to cinemas regularly you might have seen the trailer for รักแห่งสยาม (Rak hang Siam - Love of Siam) lately. I did and thought it to be a regular teenage love story. My boyfriend suggested that we see it because it had a gay theme. I was in for a pleasant surprise. It is nothing less than a gay love story between teenage boys, tastefully handled, with Thai cultural standards faithfully observed. Amazingly the final message is "It's OK to be gay." No kathoeys in sight, just two regular schoolboys who happen to be gay. There's more to the story, of course, so here's my synopsis:

"Two young boys are best friends living quiet family lives in Thailand. Their lives are disrupted when one boy's older sister goes missing on a jungle trip. The shattered family moves to Bangkok, separating the boys. Years later, now in their late teens, the boys meet again. One of them is now the leader of an aspiring boy band whose managing assistant bears a striking resemblance to the lost sister of his friend. The boys must deal with their family and social lives and their feelings for each other."

Of course this movie is mainly for Thais and you'll enjoy it more if your cultural knowledge is up-to-date. It's also deliberately paced at more than 150 minutes. I enjoyed it and recommend it for any gay farang in Thailand. Spoiler:
Spoiler


Showing at SFX Cinema, not all shows have English subtitles. Enjoy, I really think you will.

Attached Files


Edited by lothda, 2007-11-24 08:48:46.


#2 avidflyer

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Posted 2007-11-25 20:05:01

If you go to cinemas regularly you might have seen the trailer for รักแห่งสยาม (Rak hang Siam - Love of Siam) lately. I did and thought it to be a regular teenage love story. My boyfriend suggested that we see it because it had a gay theme. I was in for a pleasant surprise. It is nothing less than a gay love story between teenage boys, tastefully handled, with Thai cultural standards faithfully observed. Amazingly the final message is "It's OK to be gay." No kathoeys in sight, just two regular schoolboys who happen to be gay. There's more to the story, of course, so here's my synopsis:

"Two young boys are best friends living quiet family lives in Thailand. Their lives are disrupted when one boy's older sister goes missing on a jungle trip. The shattered family moves to Bangkok, separating the boys. Years later, now in their late teens, the boys meet again. One of them is now the leader of an aspiring boy band whose managing assistant bears a striking resemblance to the lost sister of his friend. The boys must deal with their family and social lives and their feelings for each other."

Of course this movie is mainly for Thais and you'll enjoy it more if your cultural knowledge is up-to-date. It's also deliberately paced at more than 150 minutes. I enjoyed it and recommend it for any gay farang in Thailand. Spoiler:

Spoiler


Showing at SFX Cinema, not all shows have English subtitles. Enjoy, I really think you will.


Here is the official synopsis: (go figure)

Love of Siam shows the relationship of a weak family, a lonely girl, teenagers who start to know the meaning of love and friendship that will be remain in the memory forever. The story begins when old friends Tong and Mew meet by chance at Siam, a well-known place that teenagers in Bangkok hanging out. Tong is a popular and handsome boy who is bored with his pretty girlfriend like Donut. Tong just discovers that pretty girlfriend is not the answer for something in his life. While Mew is a quiet guy who is obsessed by music, and secretly loved by Ying, a girl next door. Mew is facing hard time trying to compose love songs after his grandmom died. Later, Mew introduces Tong to June, a girl who looks alike Tong's lost sister. Tong comes up with a plan for his mother to hire June for being his sister, hoping to cure his father from alcoholism. June accepts the offer and becomes a part of Tong's family. Everything in Tong's family seems to be better since June has arrived. June is loved by Tong's family, but she begins to feel whether she does right.

#3 Scott

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Posted 2007-11-26 10:39:57

Very different synopsis of the same story! Anybody else have a take on this one?

#4 Ijustwannateach

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Posted 2007-11-26 13:42:39

Just saw this one last night. Ok, it's a Thai movie shot on a Thai budget in trendy Thai locations- which puts some limitations on it- and it has one or two screwball plot twists, as in a character who "disappears" strangely and then is replaced by someone who pretends to have amnesia- but let's forget about all that for a moment. What I'm going to write may constitute spoilers for some folks, so skip on past if you're sensitive about them.

I'd be happy to say that this movie represents a breakthrough in Thai gay cinema. Why? None of the following have been true about any other *mainstream* (widely released) Thai gay film, to my knowledge:

1. No kathoeys or kathoeyesque plot elements; no implication that being gay means you necessarily have any desire to dress or behave as a woman.
2. The two gay characters (the leads) are represented as more-or-less average members of their age and social class, admittedly the upper-middle-class.
3. The Kiss- it's long, it's convincing, it's not done with any over-obvious attempt at masking, and the actors (to my knowledge) have not yet made long public speeches about how "disgusting" it all was.
4. The characters do not have "atone for their sins" by dying or punished with permanent diseases or social alienation or disgrace.

While many characters express social concern over the possibility of their friends/family members being gay, none of them seems terribly homophobic in the Western sense- the "ewwww, yuk" factor is only used in a joke in poor taste (literally!) by one of the main characters' friends who later apologises profusely.

The film is flawed in its production, but I wish we had more flawed films of this sort.

"Steven"

#5 Jingthing

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Posted 2007-11-26 13:45:15

I think it was very sweet and charming. A must see.
It is indeed a totally mainstream movie where the principle love story happens to be a homosexual one.

Edited by Jingthing, 2007-11-26 13:45:59.


#6 flightcrew1

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Posted 2007-11-28 09:58:24

I think it was very sweet and charming. A must see.
It is indeed a totally mainstream movie where the principle love story happens to be a homosexual one.


I concur. I was hesitant to see this movie, as I'm not a big fan of Thai flicks, but the bf convinced me that it was good. I really enjoyed it. The story was cute and I felt good, even had wet eyes a few times!

The only thing that spoiled it for me was that I saw it at Paragon at 330p.m. and many young teenage girls would titter and squeal everytime there was some type off affection between the Tong and Mew in the movie! Of course that is to be expected...

#7 mrentoul

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Posted 2007-11-29 14:18:07

The blog Bangkok of the Mind has heaps of stuff about Love of Siam, as well as the gay drama, Friends.

#8 Thanh-BKK

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Posted 2007-12-02 01:22:01

Hello :o

Thanks to all of you who have written about this movie. I usually get movie reviews from the Bangkok Post and decide to watch one or not - as i haven't been in the cinema for a while i never caught a trailer for this one.

Needless to say, i just returned home from watching it at Major Cineplex Central World (all shows with English subtitles), and it is FANTASTIC!! Finally, there is a movie where the main subject is a love story between two guys, and it is NOT full of clichees and does not even have the usual sad ending (either one of them dead or turned straight as in many other gay-themed movies). Even my boyfriend liked this one very much (and he normally, despite being Thai, does not like to watch Thai movies).

Now has begun the patient wait for the release of the DVD and the hope that it will contain the English subtitles too.......... it has been said before but i repeat it here: This is a MUST-SEE.

With best regards......

Thanh

#9 Thanh-BKK

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Posted 2007-12-02 20:52:08

And one more :o

Yesterday, after posting here, i went googling - anything to do with "Love Of Siam". There's lots of material available, and there i found that even a "OST" CD is already available. I managed to find the entire CD as a download on a Thai file sharing site, but they are 128 KB/s mp3's. Plus i managed to get a trailer, a music video and an interview with the cute guy (Mew) via various YouTube links. The quality of those sucks and the sound is mono.

So today i tried my luck at two Mang Pong shops - and the second one (Central Bangna) had the CD available! So i bought it - as a Thai CD it is cheap at 159 Baht only, and there's TWO CD's in the pack - one music CD with 10 songs and one VCD which has the music video, the trailer, a picture slideshow (such cute pics!) and a "Making of" video. Mang Pong also assured me that the movie itself will be released on DVD in about two months time, and the DVD will contain a number of scenes that are NOT in the theater version!

If you are interested, find it at Mang Pong - amongs farangs also known as "Scorpion Shop" :D

With kind regards.....

Thanh

Edited by Thanh-BKK, 2007-12-02 20:54:36.


#10 flightcrew1

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Posted 2007-12-03 07:09:04

Thanks Thanh for the good info! My bf has been playing the cd non stop! Though I never listen to Thai pop this cd has grown on me especially since I loved the movie. I also hope it comes out on dvd with English subtitles as I would love for my friends overseas to see it!

Did you know the group "August" from the movie played Saturday at Central World with Mew singing?? Both bf and I were on flights so could not go...so sad! Did anybody see them perform? I keept threatening to trade in my bf for Mew...but of course he wants to trade me in for Tong!

#11 phayao

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Posted 2007-12-05 15:31:19

"Needless to say, i just returned home from watching it at Major Cineplex Central World (all shows with English subtitles), and it is FANTASTIC!! Finally, there is a movie where the main subject is a love story between two guys, and it is NOT full of clichees and does not even have the usual sad ending (either one of them dead or turned straight as in many other gay-themed movies). Even my boyfriend liked this one very much (and he normally, despite being Thai, does not like to watch Thai movies)".

I agree enterely. We went to Central World (with my Thai espouse and his long time friend) and we came out with our eyes all wet. I recommended, BUT possible spectators must know that it's VEEEERY long and slow.

I think if there is a shorter version (maybe 105') if could be easily exported to western countries not as it is now.

#12 fallingoffthemap

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Posted 2007-12-05 19:11:51

I recommended, BUT possible spectators must know that it's VEEEERY long and slow.

I didn't find it slow at all, nor particularly long, but I also enjoy this type of film over the cookie-cutter crap Hollywoond usually cranks out.

Anyways, here's another vote for it being an absolutely amazing movie. But I have to disagree with what everyone's been saying about the ending - ok, so no one dies or magically becomes straight - but having been in a vaguely similar situation, I find the ending to be absolutely tragic. Ah well, I guess I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed for a sequel.

Edited by fallingoffthemap, 2007-12-05 19:17:53.


#13 Pawpcorn

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Posted 2007-12-06 12:51:51

I recommended, BUT possible spectators must know that it's VEEEERY long and slow.

I didn't find it slow at all, nor particularly long, but I also enjoy this type of film over the cookie-cutter crap Hollywoond usually cranks out.

Anyways, here's another vote for it being an absolutely amazing movie. But I have to disagree with what everyone's been saying about the ending - ok, so no one dies or magically becomes straight - but having been in a vaguely similar situation, I find the ending to be absolutely tragic. Ah well, I guess I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed for a sequel.


OK... I weigh in on this... I saw this movie last night with my Thai bf... and I loved it, much like everyone else... as a movie that didn't vilainize or kill off the gay characters... Gay love CAN be real and honest...

BUT>>>!!! the ending!!! Geeze... Sure, the mother did her best, and apparently SUCCEEDED in RUINING the romance....

BUT!!! TONG seemed to resolve ALL his issues at the end... realize that he loved Mew (who wouldn't!?!?)...

BUT!!! WHY does he say to Mew in the closing scene... I'm sorry, I can't be your boyfriend. But it doesn't mean I don't love you!" ?????????????????????????????????/

First words our of my mouth... after the movie... and this morning, waking up, again... WHY NOT????

If Tong has just told his supposed girlfriend that he can't and doesn't feel romantic love for her... then RUN to see and hear Mew sing the song he WROTE for Tong about his undying love for him...

WHY can't Tong let Mew be his boyfriend???

I'm guessing the need for dramatic endings...

But for one who has suffered my whole adult life over a serious mistake of mine resulting in a lifetime feeling of unrequited love... for my friend of 7 years... who I could never tell I loved him....

This ending deeply disturbed me; I'm sorry.

Loved the movie, tho. :o

Pawpcorn

#14 Ijustwannateach

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Posted 2007-12-06 16:25:16

I like to think that the ending leaves everything open-ended on purpose- and all of the characters still have the chance to make good, or to fail, as they choose. After all, Tong says "no" both to the girl AND the boy in the space of a few minutes.

The pressure from the Mom is unfortunate, as FOTM says, but she really does have his "best" interests at heart- college, girlfriend, money, wife, children, house..... happiness. And as our straight readers know, this formula always, always works and rarely ever fails, if the partners are actually straight... :o

So Tong's decision at the end gives him breathing space and also keeps his mom happy temporarily. Then the viewer can choose how the story will end...

I agree, though, that he's an idiot to turn down the guy he loves, especially after that guy was just belting out his love for him publicly in front of a crowd. But then, I was an idiot at that age, too.

"S"

#15 Jingthing

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Posted 2007-12-06 18:32:44

I didn't find it slow at all, nor particularly long, but I also enjoy this type of film over the cookie-cutter crap Hollywoond usually cranks out.

I didn't feel that it dragged, but it was noticeably a long movie. I wouldn't like to see it cut down. Just be sure to visit the loo right before it starts. These longer movies are kind of an international trend.

#16 Thanh-BKK

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Posted 2007-12-06 23:28:29

Hi :o

I didn't want to mention that earlier for fear it would spoil the movie for some - but the ending is very easy to explain - given the choice between becoming the boyfriend of Mew or help his alcoholic (and seemingly slowly recovering) father back on track and hence making the entire family happy, he chose the family..... a move that everyone who knows Thais can understand. Specially once it was clear that Tang (his sister) would NOT return.

HOWEVER in saying "I can't be your boyfriend but that doesn't mean i don't love you!" he makes Mew happy TOO - AND by actually telling the girl that it's over between them THAT issue is solved as well :D So after all it IS a happy ending - for all but the girl :D But then she doesn't seem to care too much..... as meeting with her friends is more important than Tong anyway.

In fact that movie is quasi open-ended as if to expect a "part two"....... let's see :D I could imagine that Tong would re-emerge from within a stable family and run into Mew who is the new superstar... and they WILL become happy ever after. (and i have correctly predicted the storyline of movie sequels before.....)

Best regards.....

Thanh

#17 endure

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Posted 2007-12-07 03:53:40

Let's hope it goes to DVD soon :o

#18 Jingthing

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Posted 2007-12-07 04:03:10

I would not be surprised if this film is NOT released internationally in theaters. There are some things about it that make a non-starter internationally: too long, Thai pop theme (too Thai), except for the gay and Christian aspect, it is in many ways a standard Thai MELODRAMA (again, too Thai). The novelty of the gay student story would be its main chance to break internationally. But I bet it doesn't. If it isn't released, it will play at some film festivals internationally. It is a very worthy film, but worthy is not the same thing as commercial.

#19 glennaa11

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Posted 2007-12-07 11:04:18

My guess would be that it COULD play fairly well on the international festival circuit, both gay fests and Asian fests. But I do worry that its length will make it a tough sell. I think it could be judiciously trimmed. The family drama has some redundancy in it that could be pared down. And as much as I love the prologue that sets up the back story I think there is a fair amount there that could be cut as well. Get the film cut down to 2 hours or less and I think it would have a better chance. I wouldn't expect to see any sort of international theatrical release.

I loved the film and saw it twice while I was in LoS. Frankly I thought it was even more heartbreaking the second time.

As for the twist of whether or not Tang and June are the same person, I think that is intentionally left a mystery. Maybe it's her and maybe not. I liked that twist.

I also thought the ending was a head-scratcher. He loves the guy (and who wouldn't) but can't be his BF? Why not? The poor kid has been living all on his own for 5 years, you come back into his life and re-awaken his passion, and then you more or less dump him even though you admit you love him? How is that a happy ending for Mew? At least he has his friends in the band who care about him.

I had a tear in my eye pretty much from the first frame to the closing credits.

#20 endure

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Posted 2007-12-07 19:54:54

The CD/VCD is available for worldwide delivery from ethaicd.com.

#21 Jingthing

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Posted 2007-12-07 20:00:04

I wouldn't expect to see any sort of international theatrical release.

Agreed. Theater owners are businessmen. The only way to mass market it abroad would be to morph it into a gay market movie, and sweet as the story is, it really isn't gay enough, if you get my drift. So we are lucky here to have the chance to see it on the big screen. I think I am going to see it again, and for me, that is rare. I don't see the point of cutting it at all for the festival market. But they might to make a longshot play at release.

Edited by Jingthing, 2007-12-07 20:01:26.


#22 glennaa11

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Posted 2007-12-07 21:56:56

Speaking as some one who works in film festival programming I can tell you that a film 2.5 hours long is very problematic from a programming perspective. Festivals tend to have programming blocks that are about 2 hours or maybe a little longer. To fit the film in at its long running time would require a fair amount of schedule jiggling which programmers don't like to do unless they have a VERY good reason. I think a 2 hour runtime or less would make it much more palatable to festivals.

With respect to theatrical release it would only play (in the US) at arthouses or arthouse plexes like Landmark Theatres. IF it were picked up by a distributor it might stand a chance at very small calendar runs. If it wins a bunch of local awards that will help the film be marketable. But the only Thai films that I can recall seeing distributed here are things like Ong Bak.

Since there are so many subtitled prints being used in Thailand the producers have already gone to that expense. According to Sahamongkol they are working on putting together subtitled screener copies for festivals. So, I would expect that a retail DVD with English subs is likely to show up eventually. Send them an email and tell them you will buy one and that might give them more incentive to make sure the DVD happens.

#23 Jingthing

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Posted 2007-12-07 22:34:05

Yeah, that is true, festival movies are usually shorter than 2 hours. But just out of curiosity, would they usually bother the expense of a cut just for festival showings? I could imagine (I know they won't) remaking the movie for the international market ... Mama would have to catch the rascals doing a bit more than smooching though. And definitely change the ending. Lets see, they would elope to Phuket ...

Edited by Jingthing, 2007-12-07 22:35:42.


#24 Pawpcorn

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Posted 2007-12-07 23:50:20

Hi :o

I didn't want to mention that earlier for fear it would spoil the movie for some - but the ending is very easy to explain - given the choice between becoming the boyfriend of Mew or helping his alcoholic (and seemingly slowly recovering) father back on track and hence making the entire family happy, he chose the family..... a move that everyone who knows Thais can understand. Specially once it was clear that Tang (his sister) would NOT return.

HOWEVER in saying "I can't be your boyfriend but that doesn't mean i don't love you!" he makes Mew happy TOO - AND by actually telling the girl that it's over between them THAT issue is solved as well :D So after all it IS a happy ending - for all but the girl :D But then she doesn't seem to care too much..... as meeting with her friends is more important than Tong anyway.

In fact that movie is quasi open-ended as if to expect a "part two"....... let's see :D I could imagine that Tong would re-emerge from within a stable family and run into Mew who is the new superstar... and they WILL become happy ever after. (and i have correctly predicted the storyline of movie sequels before.....)

Thanh


Ahhh... Thank you, Thanh, for clarifying the ending for me. :D Explained, as you so patiently did... it now makes perfectly good sense to me, Tong choosing directions that may strengthen his family, dropping the pointless relationship with the girl, and committing his love to Mew at the same time. It wasn't just a pointless plot twist of pain, as I had been thinking.

I come from a very disfunctional and distant family, and I'm still on (perhaps) the steep portion of the learning curve of Thai culture. But I'm starting to better understand the incredible closeness, commitment and strength within the Thai family; perhaps it's the most beautiful side of Thai Culture.

I hated to see Mew cry, as I was relating to it from my personal experience of an unrequited love that's haunted me my entire life... but perhaps... in the creator's mind, there were tears of joy too, as he could rejoice in the gifts of Tong's verbal commitment of love, and the VERY thoughtful and sensitive gift of "competing" (or making whole) the toy that was a symbol of their childhood love for each other.

I visited the official website for the movie today, at worldwideweb dot theloveofsiam dot com, and was rewarded with a great music video of Mew singing one of the upbeat songs, accompanied with many scenes from the movie.

And further into the website, each song from the movie can be (lo-fi) streamed... and the August Band is presented in such a fashion as to make me think that the studio has full intention of continuing (and perhaps other live performances? of) August into the future.

Maybe this bodes well for a sequel, one can only hope; and wait... patiently. What a great movie!!!

Thanks again,
Pawpcorn

#25 bkkguy1970

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Posted 2007-12-08 13:03:46

The CD/VCD is available for worldwide delivery from ethaicd.com.


to avoid confusion or disappointment, that's the soundtrack, not the movie

bkkguy





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