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Thailand's cinema superhero "Red Eagle" is back

Do you remember "Red Eagle"..      it was a Blockbuster in Thailand and the remake hails the return of an iconic hero to Big screens. 

It's loanded with action and well overdue for the fate of Thailand's suffering film industry of recnet years.  Red Eagle is to Thailand what Bateman is to Amercia,  The Dark Knight, for its undertones of a hero hunted by the authorities. And parallels with Thailand's political troubles are already being drawn.

Presenter: Bo Hill
Speakers: Curtis, blogger, Wise Kwai; Amy Iamphungphorn, producer, 'Red Eagle'

HILL: Costing US$5 million - five times the average Thai film budget - and taking just over two years to make, the Red Eagle, or Insee Daeng, has landed.

CURTIS: It's very exciting. The new Red Eagle. The legendary, iconic, character in Thai cinema, in Thai culture.

HILL: Opening in Thailand to rave reviews and making its international premiere this weekend at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea, Red Eagle is certainly packing a punch. Thai film reviewer, Curtis, from Wise Kwai blogspot says the film is a welcome relief.

CURTIS: Well, you know, especially in the past two or three years the commercial Thai films have been mainly like romance, slapstick comedy, or maybe some low budget horror. So, yeah, these big budget, kind of superhero movies are not happening as much right now.

HILL: Critics of Thai film are comparing Red Eagle to Hollywood's The Dark Knight, the last Batman film with a very black tone. But inevitably parallels with Thai politics and culture will also be drawn. Red Eagle is a masked crime fighter, who searches the streets to find criminals and corrupt officials.

(sound effects from the film)

HILL: In reality, the same streets the film is set in have been host to tens of thousands of protesters over the past four years - the Red Shirts, the Yellow Shirts. Protests that have seen clashes with the military and deaths.

(sound effects from the film) - 'Is it possible to get rid of all the evil men in the world?'

HILL: The producer of Red Eagle, Amy Iamphungphorn, says there was no direct intention to make a political statement, but she says director, Wisit Sasanatieng, did want to make a film that reflected reality.

IAMPHUNGPHORN: From Wisit, in his director's notes, he mentions that the story is very real and it applies to the current situation. So he wanted to use a movie way to try to make justice to, you know, this society. Like if in real life, something that normal citizens cannot do or make right, so he wants to use movies to imply or to do the right thing.

CURTIS: There's quite a few parallels to what's happening in Thai politics today, with protests being put down, a government that is perhaps not so popular. But really it could be applied to any era, or any place.

HILL: The Red Eagle character, Rom Rittikrai, is played by Laotian-Australian actor, Ananda Everingham. The character is modern, instead of a 1950s lycra suit and sparkly boots, it's a leather jacket, black boots and some very 21st century weapons.

(sound effects from the film)

IAMPHUNGPHORN: We're not remaking it, we've reinvented it. From the beginning we tried to make it current, or little bit [futuristic].

HILL: The story is well loved in Thailand. Adding to the legend is the death of the last actor who played the Red Eagle, Mit Chabanchai, exactly 40 years ago. He made seven Red Eagle films starting in 1957. But in a tragic finale Mit was killed performing a stunt in the last film, Golden Eagle. Producer Amy Iamphungphorn says there are plans to make sequels, but it's up to director Wisit Sasanatieng.

IAMPHUNGPHORN: If we have the second or the future part, it has to be Wisit because everything is from him. Insee Daeng is his dream.

-- Edited by JohnT on Saturday 9th of October 2010 12:30:34 AM

-- Edited by JohnT on Saturday 9th of October 2010 12:40:23 AM

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