Oliver Stone and the continuing legend of Bang Rajan

www.thailandvoice.com, 29 January 2010


Despite being in the midst of directing Wall Street 2, Oliver Stone has been trekking across Southeast Asia giving talks as part of the Bridges - Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace event series.

He was in Bangkok earlier this week, where he looked back and to the left at the Kennedy assassination and got folks riled up by saying Hitler was a scapegoat. He spoke at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and also at the Dusit Thani Hotel Bangkok, where he met with various celebrities, including Mario Maurer, "Jaa" Nattaveeranut Boonmee, Marsha Wattanapanich and "Bie" Sukrit Wisetkaew.

The Nation has an interview and so does the Bangkok Post. The Post's Kong Rithdee got Stone to talk about his favorite Thai movie, Bang Rajan, which he "presented" in a US theatrical run in 2004.

"Mr Stone is known to be a staunch champion of the 2001 Thai film Bang Rajan, a blood-soaked historical film about a band of patriotic Ayutthaya villagers who die fighting the Burmese army. The director bought the Thai film for US release, and he confirmed his view again that Bang Rajan is a great film, ''up there with Seven Samurai.''

Upon learning that Thanit Jitnukul, the director of Bang Rajan, is planning a sequel, Mr Stone joked: ''But how many villagers were left alive at the end [of the first film]? You'll keep fighting the Burmese?''
That's the question that others have had since news of Bang Rajan 2 first surfaced last year.

Yeah, everybody did die at the end of Bang Rajan, but nationalism lives on.

New posters are out, which feature tennis star Paradorn Srichapan trading in his racquet for a pair broadswords. And yes, the womenfolk get in on the fighting too.

There's still something missing -- moustaches! Big hairy lip ferrets. The lack of facial hair is woefully pointed out at Film Smash, where one forum member offers revised versions of the teaser posters, putting handsome handlebar 'staches on even the warrior women.

Also, where's the fighting water buffalo?

After Bangkok, Stone headed for Cambodia, where he gave a lecture and received an honorary doctor of humanity certificate in Phnom Penh.