Limitless Cinema in Broken English

December 2, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:50 pm

Other problems happening during the EU FILM FESTIVAL 2009 at SF WORLD CINEMA:

1.The showing of CITIZEN HAVEL, on Saturday, Nov 28, at 21.20 hrs, is plagued with many problems. First the film seemed to be shown “with DVD commentary on”, because you could hear an offscreen voice of a woman narrating something in Czech without English subtitles from time to time. You could see English subtitles on the screen when people who appear in the film say something. But nearly every five minutes you could hear an offscreen voice in Czech without English subtitles.

While I was watching this, I was not sure if there was an error happening or not, because I hadn’t seen this film before. I was not sure if the offscreen voice in Czech was caused by an error or not. However, after the film showing was interrupted at around 22.40 hrs and then started again at 23.15 hrs, some scenes in the film were shown for the second time, but without that offscreen voice. This means that the offscreen voice shouldn’t have been there in the first place. This means that the offscreen voice is actually “a DVD commentary”, not the original film. This DVD commentary disrupted the mood of the original film a lot, especially in the scene of the funeral. The funeral scene is originally quiet, but we in SF theater had to watch this scene with that offscreen voice.

2.After CITIZEN HAVEL was shown for about an hour, the DVD skipped back to the beginning. What is frustrating is that it took about 30-45 minutes to fix this problem. The projectionist seemed not to know for how long the film had been shown before the accident happened. I saw a Thai audience telling a staff of SF that he would volunteer to help the projectionist search for the scene which should be played, but the staff didn’t accept his help. And I think that is one of the reasons why the problem took about 40 minutes to be fixed.

3.At around midnight, the projector malfunctioned. There was no picture on the screen. It took about 10 minutes to fix this problem. After all these things, the showing of CITIZEN HAVEL, which should have ended at 23.30 hrs, actually ended at 24.30 hrs.

4.CINEMA 14 was shaken while CITIZEN HAVEL was shown. At first I thought someone kept kicking my seat, but there was no one sitting behind me. Later, I was told that there was a social event held nearby in Centara. The dance music played in that event shook CINEMA 14. But this is not a serious problem.

5.In the brochure, THE EXPEDITION LINNAEUS was supposed to be shown at 17.15 on Nov 26, and CORRIDOR #8 was supposed to be shown at 17.15 hrs on Nov 27, but when I went to buy the ticket, I found out that the showing of these two films would be at 16.15 hrs, instead of 17.15 hrs. I was fortunate to arrive at the theater at 16.00 hrs on Nov 26 and found out about this, or else I would have missed the chance to see THE EXPEDITION LINNAEUS.

6.GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE, which was shown on Friday, Nov 20, was shown with very wrong aspect ratio. Some other films shown on Nov 20 and Nov 21 were shown with slightly wrong aspect ratio. However, this problem was fixed after the first few days.

7.There was a 30-minute-long advertisement shown before the films during the first few days of the festival. This caused some troubles with the film schedule. However, this problem was fixed after the first few days. The advertisement was cut short to five minutes for the last few days of the festival.

8.The showing of ADVENTURERS on Tuesday, Nov 24, was interrupted near the end of the film. While we were watching the film, suddenly there was an advertisement appearing on the screen. This problem was fixed within 15 seconds, but it had already destroyed the mood of the ending scene.

9.CROSSED TRACKS, which was shown on Friday, Nov 27 at 19.40 hrs, was shown in film format, but with wrong aspect ratio or wrong lens in the first minute of the film, so we couldn’t read the English subtitles during the first minute. This may not be a serious problem, but I still hope it will not happen again.

10.This is just an amusing problem, not a serious problem:

It happened when I went to the ticket seller’s counter to buy a ticket for CITIZEN HAVEL.

“I want to buy a ticket for CITIZEN HAVEL.”

“2012?”, the ticket seller asked.


“FAREWELL?”, the ticket seller asked, thinking that I might want to buy a ticket for A FAREWELL TO HEMINGWAY.

“No, CITIZEN HAVEL”. I replied, and pointed to the word “CITIHAV” on her screen. That’s when I succeeded in buying this ticket.



  1. This is my reply to Matthew Hunt in my bilingual blog:

    I also wonder about it. Another thing I wonder about is why this year’s EU FILM FEST had many problems, while last year’s EU FILM FEST, which was held at the same place during the week of airport’s shutdown, run smoothly?

    Scala and Siam have a problem, too, though not as serious as SF WORLD CINEMA. Sometimes while I was watching movies at Scala and Siam, I found that people in the projection’s room talked very loudly. This problem also occured at Cinema 12 in Paragon Cineplex during the World Film Festival of Bangkok. I haven’t found this problem at Lido.

    Comment by celinejulie — December 3, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  2. This is my reply to Wise Kwai in my bilingual blog:

    Yes, it’s too bad. I also wonder why the showing of some films in non-film format at SF WORLD CINEMA during the Bangkok International Film Festival didn’t have the same problems as the EU FILM FESTIVAL. In the BKKIFF, the image quality of the films, such as IMBURNAL, was very sharp and clear, and there were no problems with the aspect ratios.

    I guess this might be because:

    1.The films in BKKIFF came in a better format than the films in EU FILM FEST.

    2.The films in BKKIFF came in the same format as the films in EU FILM FEST, but they used a better projector during the BKKIFF, while they used a cheap projector during EU FILM FEST.

    3.The EU FILM FEST don’t have some staff to coordinate with SF WORLD CINEMA, and don’t have some staff to monitor every showing of the films. The EU FILM FEST should have had a staff to coordinate closely with the projectionist, so that the staff can tell the projectionist in which aspect ratio each film should be shown, and how to play the DVD of each film without turning on the DVD commentary track. I guess many DVDs shown during the EU FILM FEST don’t have English menu bars, so the projectionist may have had a lot of trouble trying to understand how to operate each DVD.

    Comment by celinejulie — December 5, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  3. This is my reply to the comments in my bilingual blog:

    –Thank you very much for your comments, Rikker and Wise Kwai.

    I have heard a rumor that a good DVD projector costs many million baht, and it is suspected that SF may use the expensive projector to show some Hollywood digital films, instead of using it for the EU FILM FEST. But this is just a guess. I don’t know what the truth is.

    The picture quality also varies from film to film during the EU FILM FEST, so I guess the quality of each DVD shown in the festival varies, too. The picture quality of THE COLLECTRESS, A FAREWELL TO HEMINGWAY, SOUNDS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT, CORRIDOR # 8, and IRINA PALM is acceptable, while the picture quality of GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE, MATAHARIS, ADVENTURERS, SILENT WEDDING, and SPLINTERS are not as good as I want.

    As for my own experience, I don’t care much about in which format a film is shown as long as the picture quality comes out acceptable. Sometimes some film distributors in Thailand show films using bad film prints, which make the picture look quite terrible. This happens with THE PIANO, BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS (1999, Alan Rudolph), GOSFORD PARK (2001, Robert Altman), and BIG FISH (2003, Tim Burton).

    Sometimes I don’t know if the bad picture quality results from the bad film print or bad projector. This happens with LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, which I saw at CINEMA 5 in SF WORLD CINEMA. The picture of this film looked clear for 5 seconds, then a little bit blurred for 5 seconds, then clear for 5 seconds, then blurred,… . After the film had shown for fifteen minutes, I told a staff of SF about this problem. But nothing happened. The film was alternately clear and blurred like this until the film ended. So I’m not sure if the problem originated from the bad film print or bad projector.

    I don’t mind it at all that all the films of Lav Diaz are shown in DVD format. đŸ™‚

    A really serious problem of Bangkok cinema which I think must be corrected as soon as possible is that there is now no venue for showing 16 mm films. The multiplexes in Bangkok now have no 16 mm projector or persons who are adept at showing 16 mm films. But there are still many interesting films, especially the films listed in ARTFORUM magazine, which are in 16 mm format. This problem is the reason why many interesting films cannot be shown during the film festivals in Bangkok. I know that there are some film programmers in Bangkok who want to show James Benning’s films, but James Benning only makes films in 16 mm format, so our hope of showing his films haven’t been realized yet.

    Comment by celinejulie — December 6, 2009 @ 12:09 am

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