måndag 30 april 2012

My meeting with the Metanee's: The Gentlemen Concert 2012

Aey taking on the stage! Bravo!

Not much to say really, but this was another highlight from our Thailand-trip. This wouldn't have happen if it wasn't for my good friend and spiritual brother Satawat Metanee, singer, actor and teacher - and also son of Sombat Metanee. Satawat, or Aey as he's called, mentioned to me that he would participate in a concert, Gentlemen Concert: Man and Love at the Pridi Bhanomyong Institute, and that his father would perform also! So without any other thoughts I booked our trip so we could see the concert!

This was kinda the best bonus I could get! I'm there to meet Aey, but if he could introduce me to his father that would be fantastic! The concert was great by the way, and a perfect ending of a very long and sweaty day (me and Tong visited Sompote Sands earlier that day!). A classy, funny (even for us not knowing the language) concert and it was extra fun that so many came to us afterwards and started talking. We felt very welcome! I'm sure I will end up on every of these concerts if I one day move to Thailand.

There was several very good singers, Aey of course - and some gentlemen I just can't remember the names of! I have the program somewhere, but I can't find it right now. Sombat still had a strong and powerful voice and it's amazing to see him perform! When I got the opportunity afterwards to meet him my first thought was the he was a big teddy bear, very soft and friendly. Just like his son :)

Sorry for the blurry photos, but it was dark in there and afterwards it was so much emotions, so exciting that it was hard taking really steady photos!

The whole gang!

Father, son and daughter Metanee!

The Gentlemen!

Me, Aey and X!

Sombat Metanee and me!

tisdag 10 april 2012

My meeting with Pawana Chanajit

They have dinosaurs in Thailand!
After eating noodles with Yodchai Meksuwan me and my pal first decided to stop by some cool dinosaurs standing by the road, hardcore-monster fans you know, and then meet up with ”The Pearl of Asia” Pawana Chanajit at a restaurant nearby. Pawana had a short career in Hong Kong, mostly starring against David Leung, but did around 200 movies in Thailand until she decided to quit the showbiz and be a business woman. Nowadays she deals with selling and buying land and seem to live a good life doing what she want to do.

She was a bit late, but on the other side, we was a bit early, and we sat for a while at hour table waiting and talking movies until she arrived and looked like the superstar she still is. A very warm and friendly woman who gladly talked about her career (in English, very good English). She started her career when she was 11-12 years and a neighbor woman told her they needed a young actress for a movie shooting nearby. Pawana ended up with quite a big part and got stuck in the business for many years.

For me it was extra fun because she starred together with Yodchai in Sompote Sands cult classic Hanuman vs the 7 Ultramans, and I got her signature on the poster together with the autograph of Yodchai and Sompote.
Tong getting a poster signed by Pawana!

Pawana had a busy day and after some excellent food (I was very full after this day, I can tell ya!) she said goodbye and we decided to keep contact. Next time I wish I’ll have more time to sit down and talk more about her career and her life. But it was she who told me that the sometimes they shot movies so fast that they just went home to her, shot a scene outside her house and the continue to the next adventure!

Pawana and me :)

fredag 6 april 2012

Come Alone (ข้ามาคนเดียว, 1978)

A fast glance as the poster make Come Alone looks like some samurai movie, or something related to native Americans - but this is actually quite traditional action movie with guns, jeans jackets and the usual suspects starring, but with a surprisingly slapstick-filled beginning. What we see on the poster is Sombat Metanee dressed like a crazy hippie, always up for a good song or maybe a fight or two with those who might wanna stop him. I haven't found any English synopsis so I'm not sure what this movie is about, but what I could understand Sombat goes undercover as a hippie, infiltrates an area with gangsters - maybe he wants to take revenge, maybe he's an agent of some kind - and the plan is obviously to take everyone down in brutal fashion, often with knifes or any other sharp objects.

But everything begins with Sombat taking a piss, getting caught by the baddies, then he has to take a dump and makes his guards dance while he's singing at the same time, which also gives him the opportunity to overpower them and be a free man again. It actually takes a while until he takes of his hippie costume and reveals himself, and the gets back on a more serious track again.

The lack of subtitles makes Come Alone a bit hard to follow, especially in the middle when the action takes a break and intrigues and drama takes over. There's a lot of talking, but the story moves along quite OK anyway and finally there's more action and bloodshed to entertain us non Thai-language geeks. Come Alone is also one of the more violent and bloody Thai movies from the seventies I've seen with squibs and bloody knife-attacks, plus a generous amount of good fighting. Most of it is the usual fist fights, but one guy (sorry, just can't remember his name!) goes full-blown Bruce Lee, including a cue from the soundtrack of Enter the Dragon, in one sequence. Not bad at all.

A lot of characters are introduces during the show, but I can honestly say that the one who seem to have the most fun is Sombat. When dressed as a hippie he's just like a totally different actor. Maybe it was something with the ridiculous premise of his characters disguise that set him off? A weird detail is that after half the movie he suddenly wears a wig, which is quite visible. I guess he probably shot another movie at the same time, a movie that demanded that he needed to be either totally shaved or with a crew cut or something similar.

Come Alone is yet another fine, but in the middle a bit too slow, example of traditional Thai action cinema. The whole cast is filled with every actor you expect and the action is violent and quite creative. Just don't expect a samurai and sword epic! :) 

Released by Triple X, which means the quality is slightly better than usual. Only slightly, because it still has scratches and something that looks like water damage during the final reels, but it's also in anamorphic widescreen and the glory of watching Thai action from this period in the correct ratio is always a pleasure out of the ordinary.