The Tin Mine (Maha'lai Muang Rae) (2005) (Thailand)
Director: Jira Maligool
Cast: Pijaya Vachajitpan, Donlaya Mudcha, Sonthaya Chitmanee, Jumpol Thongtan, Niran Sattar, and Anthony Howard Gould
It is Thailand's submission to Oscar 2006. In Thailand, it took six awards at the Supannahongsa Film Awards , incl. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound, Best Art Design and Best Costume.
The official website
It is based on the widely read short stories of "The Tin Mine" (about 142 chapters, I think) (by Ajin Panjapan) which is semi-autobiographical. Also, at the end of the film, the author and one of his friends (i.e., Kai), now in their 70s, made a cameo ...
My thoughts ...
-- Very often, I would associate such "epic" (covering events over 4 years) and coming-of-age story to be more "serious" and "dramatic". However, the film took a comedy approach, with caricatures, stereotypes, exaggerated expressions, etc such that it came across as a "fun to watch" film rather than a serious film. Also, typical of films from Thailand, the initial scene was injected with a haunting and frightening "ghost" story, which may have pleased some audience but possibly (and maybe) displeased serious award voters.
-- Unfortunately, for many of us who read subtitles, the multicultural aspect of the film might have been lost in translation ...
-- Nonetheless, the film should be credited for its many good messages on humanity, integrity, determination, loss, respect, friendship, love, etc
-- In terms of cinematography, there are a few beautifully filmed scenes.
Above average. A simple but sincere narration of what happened to the author and his friends in the tin mine over a period of four years ...