สนับสนุนโดย สำนักงานศิลปวัฒนธรรมร่วมสมัย กระทรวงวัฒนธรรม Supported by Office of Contemporary Art And Culture ,Ministry Of Culture

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13 Beloved
  Anchalee Chaiworaporn


What are you supposed to do when you are unexpectedly offered Bt100 million (US$2.8 million)? It is your unluckiest day - your car has just been taken back by the trust company. And your boss has just given you a white envelope (Thai symbol of being fired). Your mother also needs you to provide the money for your sisters tuition fee. Suddenly, you receive a mysterious call asking you to join an online 13-quiz game with a huge bonus. You start from swatting an annoying fly buzzing around your face and then you have to win the next 12 challenges. Easy as pie? Without hesitation, you grasp the chance. But as the game rolls on, you become almost like a monster, rather than a human being. You must eat shit or kill a dog, and it is already too late for you to turn back. And what for the final challenge?

13-Beloved is garnered as three best films of the year. The second feature from Thailands youngest director, Chookiat Sakveerakul, shows his mastery with its good plot, excellent performance from the lead actor, and tight editing. Based on a famous comic book, The 13 Quiz Show, the storyline not surprisingly and easily catches the audiences attention and keeps them in their seats. But director Chookiat Sakweerakul enhances it with fresh, unpleasing and merciless image construction. Excrements, fresh pigs legs used as weapons, a rotten corpse carried by the protagonist on his back Warning! This is the most vomit-inducing film one can expect. So dont see the film right before or after your meal.

All the characters are smartly put in an interconnected chain, like the present internet model which is also the plots backdrop. Each character is constructed either as a player and as prey, or both. Similarly, the fast pace of the running of the game matches very well with the tragic part of the story. What happens to a human being under the technology-ridden world?

Lead actor Krissada Sukosol has gone a long way in his acting career - winning almost every local best actor awards. Krissada nevertheless smartly catches the underdog world of a man with no luck, unexpectedly falling into blood and wastes, despite being born into a high-class family in reality and getting fame as an indie singer. Director Sakveerakul softly plays with the use of cinematic language and symbol the protagonists first deal is offered on the 14th floor, which means the 13th floor. In Thai culture, 13th floor is skipped due to its significance of bad luck.
The film contains the paradigm of entertainment required by Hollywood. Thus, the Hollywood Weinstein company picked up the remake rights. But if you want to know how a third-world country like Thailand sees the modern world of internet and technology, this is a good introduction.

13 Beloved: A Cult Classic in the Making

By Sorradithep Supachanya






In a rare phenomenon, director Chukiat Sakweerakuls 13 Beloved is set to be a cult favorite in Thailand . The film captures film buffs imagination and speculations, as evidenced by a deluge of postings on Pantip.com, the countrys most popular discussion forum website. The films prequel, a short film called 12 Begin, is becoming a highly sought-after commodity and Chukiat is already planning a sequel tentatively entitled 14 Beyond.

Based on a comic book called The 13th Quiz Show, itself a cult-favorite material, by Ekasit Thairat, Chukiat co-wrote 13 Beloved with Ekasit to critique the hypocrisy in modern-day Bangkok. Krissada Noi Sukosol Clapp plays Puchit, a down-and-out salesman who receives a call from a seemingly omniscient quiz show moderator enticing him to complete 13 tasks as instructed through a mobile phone for an exorbitant amount of prize money. He easily finishes the first two and decides to play on, not knowing that each upcoming stage becomes increasingly disgusting, homicidal, and inhumane.

Undoubtedly, 13 Beloved is bloody and violent, but it is also a dark comedy that punches all the right spots. In one scene where Puchit informs an old mans family about his death, the grandchildren answer the phone but shortly return to their videogames and cosmetics. In another scene where Puchits coworker files a police report for physical assault, neither the coworker nor the boss can remember Puchits last name. And, in a scene where a protagonist questions the games legality, the creator simply replies that it does not worry him because he has already bought the law.

However, the plot is weakest when it tries to be elaborate. For a game that can take place anywhere and anytime and involve anyone and anything, it is only realistically and financially impossible to be created and controlled by a handful of people. Furthermore, Puchit finds himself being chased far too often and for far too long. The director may intend these numerous chase scenes to make his film commercially successful, and they truly are great chase scenes but they certainly make the film a lot less philosophical than it can potentially be.

While watching the film, questions formed in my mind: is Puchit a villain for harming someone who deceives society (a beggar who pretends to be blind and mute), someone who often causes troubles to society (rowdy vocational college students and a motorcycle gang), and someone who abuse women (the abusive boyfriend of Puchits ex-girlfriend)? Is he simply a vengeful victim who acts on behalf of our perverted fantasies? Is it immoral for Puchit to kill and eat animals or his means of killing them makes it wrong?

13 Beloved is blessed with excellent performances by Noi, whom we last saw in the 2004 comedy Bangkok Loco, and by Achita Im Sikamana, who returns to a dramatic role since the 2004 horror Shutter. Legendary actor Saranyu Wongkrajang makes too few onscreen appearances here but his character is rumored to be prominent in the films sequel.

Chukiat must have enjoyed playing with parallelism and numbers. The game shows voice instructions resemble Puchits mother call to his mobile phone asking him to wire some money. As for the numbers, pay close attention to the license plate, hospital room number, floor number, numbers on the jacket, TV channel number, etc., to see the reoccurring number 13 and numbers that match with the game level.

It is hard to believe that 13 Beloved is only the sophomore effort from a 25-year-old director. Chukiat has created a tightly-directed, heart racing thriller, which is also a smart and thought-provoking satire about Bangkok s modern-day ironies. His biggest flaw is that the films sequel is not being released soon enough.




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