Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Open Air Cinema

Last night I went along to the Goethe-Institut to attend a screening of the film Whisky With Vodka, as part of the centre’s on-going Open Air Film festival (finishing March 3). The festival, which runs annually from December to March, has become a highlight for Bangkok film enthusiasts not only for its unique setting amidst the tranquil garden surroundings of the institute, but also for its selection of the best contemporary German language films [with English subtitles] around. The affair is nothing fancy, just a large screen, plastic outdoor chairs and a small makeshift kiosk selling drinks like beer, soda and water [there is also a restaurant on site where you can grab dinner beforehand and get large pints of take-away German beer to watching during the screening]. The festival is really a treat and a great way to spend an evening making the most of Bangkok’s short-lived “cool” season.
In Whisky With Vodka, Andreas Dresen, one of Germany’s better known directors, attempts a comedic satire on film-making; tracing the conflicts and jealousies which take place on the set of a period situation comedy. In a nutshell: popular, older, heavy-drinking actor Otto is forced to accept a double, with the threat that he’ll take over the part if Otto doesn’t toe the line. Otto once had an affair with his co-star Bettina, now married to hypocritical director Telleck. This gives rise to further complications. Whisky With Vodka presents romantic entanglements on- and off-screen, musings on the quality of acting and thespian insecurity, reflections on old age and the approach of death. Personally I really enjoyed the film, the acting was very good and there were some very sly, witty moments; thanks to them I was able to overlook some of the more trite, clichéd aspects of actors and their numerous foibles.
If you plan to go along take my advice and bring plenty of bug spray as the mosquitoes are numerous and ravenous! The last four screenings of the year are: Storm on Feb. 10, Die Herbstzeitlosen on Feb. 17, The Friend on Feb. 24 and Gibellina – II Terremoto on Mar. 3. For full details, go to:
Getting there: From the Siam City Hotel take the BTS from Phayathai station six stops (towards Mo Chit) to station Asok, from there you follow the signs to the MRT. Hop on and go two stops (towards Hua Lamphong) to station Lumphini. From here you want to take exit 2. Walk up Sathorn Tai Rd 200m and take the first small street, Sathorn Soi 2, on your left-hand side. Walk straight for about 500m and then take the even smaller Goethe Soi, on your left again, with the institute appearing only 150m up on the left.

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