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Surasee Phatham

Surasee Phatham (1948) - สุรสีห์ ผาธรรม

Surasee Phatham - สุรสีห์ ผาธรรม
Surasee Phatham
Surasee Phatham was a dubber first in Isan area. He worked on Thai movie มนต์รักแม่น้ำมูล in 1977 as assistant director. Surasee Phatham grew up in a rural area in close association with peasants, so he understood well their problems. Most of his films presented stories of rural teachers, life in Isan villages and politics. One of his best Thai social movie is 'The Rural Teacher' (ครูบ้านนอก) (1978) . Director Surasee Phatham has done other movies focusing on rural teachers such as ครูวิบาก (Teacher hardship), ครูดอย (Mountain teacher), หมอบ้านนอก (Rural Doctor). They were never as successful as 'The Rural Teacher'. One of Surasee Phatham's best movie is 'The MP outside the Parliament' (ผู้แทนนอกสภา), where a kind hearted MP is shot by a hitman

This Surasee Phatham movie page contains 9 records.


ครูบ้านนอก
ครูบ้านนอก

Year: 2010

Thai title: ครูบ้านนอก
English title: To Sir, With Love

Rating: 4/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Mum Jokmok,Panna Rittikrai
Main actress:

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Surasee Phatham has directed a remake of his own movie in 2009 as he was never happy with the number of details that were edited out. In “Rural Teacher” movie remake, most of the actors speak Isan / Lao language. The story is the same but many details have been changed. For the complete story, please read the above 1978 “Rural teacher” movie review. The village name has changed from Baan Nong Ma Wo (บ้านหนองหมาว้อ) to Baan Nong Hi Yai (บ้านหนองฮีใหญ่). The movie features many Isan country side ceremonies and customs such as lying by a fire after a child birth (to purify of all poisons and influences from ghosts), food (frog, snake, rice alcohol - เหล้าขาว). It reminds a bit of "A Child of the Northeast" ("LUK ISAN" - ลูกอีสาน) movie. Teacher Piya is now called Teacher Pichet. Teacher Pichit is now called Teacher Somchat. The headmaster is more funny and is played by actor Mum Jokmok. Famous action director Panna Rittikrai is also having a role as a strange man living away from the village. The headmaster plays lottery while teaching pupils. The children often miss school as they need to work for their parents or parents have no money to buy school uniforms for them. There are no chairs for children to sit. The headmaster and teacher Somchat need to ride horse to go to city. They need to buy their own teacher clothes. Pichet has pushed for the school modernization. New clothes offered by the local influential man owning the illegal logging concession. The main actor, Pichet Kongkarn, is a singer. He is singing a few songs related to Isan people leaving their village to go to work in cities and leaving behind grandparents to take care of babies, related to forest kindness (บุญคุณของป่า) or related to knowledge (ความรู้) and kindness (ความดี). Ruffians wear mask to frighten the villagers (ผีหลอก) so that they don't mingle inside the forest. Pichet finds poison in the forest. It is used by ruffians for people to get sick. Pichet finds the huge logging concession. The journalist head doesn't dare publishing the news and pictures. Pichet and the headmaster motivate the villagers to fight against the ruffians. A young journalist finally dares editing the news. Villagers fight with ruffians and one villager is shot. Panna Rittikrai can even show his fighting skills. The movie ends tragically for the teacher. The new version was released 2 days before National Teachers Day (วันครู) in 2010. The Culture Ministry, regarded "Kru Baan Nok" as a promotional tool and provided some support. As expected the movie didn’t raise as much interest as 31 years ago as Thai society has evolved. Thai film industry has become more and more centralized with a Bangkok mindset. Politics and social commentary are now divorced from pure entertainment movies. Students and young people are not concerned about politics as they used to be. The movie might have been more successful if the remake was taking place in 2010 and talked about modern issues as corruption and hitmen are still present nowadays. In 1978, teacher Thim Bun-ing was shot after denouncing a bribery at the school construction of his village in Satuek District (Buriram). A teacher and activist, Khru Thim fought hard to see that Isan children had more educational opportunities and more efficient educational programmes. A group of teachers in Isan, wanting to keep his ideology alive, established the Foundation in his memory in 1983. Maybe "The Rural Teacher" movie was based on this real story.

ราชินีดอกหญ้า
ราชินีดอกหญ้า

Year: 1986

Thai title: ราชินีดอกหญ้า
English title:

Rating: 4/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Prompong Nopparith,Doo Dook Kradon
Main actress: Jarunee Sooksawad

A Molam performers group is going to quit playing (ลาเวที). They are going to play Manora performance for the last time. Benchawee is the main young lady singer. A photographer called Somwit wishes to join them. He wants to convince them not to stop as Molam is part of Isan culture but it seems too late. Finally they accept to resume one time as a donor pleads them. Molam is not so popular anymore. Mainly old people are watching. Molam performers have difficulties to compete face to modern Thai country (ลูกทุ่ง) music and need to renew their style. Molam is an art (ศิลปะ). Somwit understands the need to write down songs in order to have records as it is mainly passed orally from one generation to another. There are many kinds of Molam song style such as Molam Ploen (หมอลำเพลิน) , Molam sing (หมอลำซิ่ง) and so on... Somwit wishes to bring the Molam band to radio broadcasting. Somwit decides to mix Molam song with modern Thai song (หมอลำยังไม่ตาย). An example is “Siang Isaan” as a modern Molam music group. Sawit wants to bring Benchawee to Bangkok to increase her popularity. They meet an unscrupulous producer who only wants to abuse Rawee. They continue to tour around Thailand and start to become famous. Somwit has to go back for personal affairs in Bangkok but fails to come back. Benchawee misses him and has then difficulties to sing properly. Somwit finally comes back mixing Molam songs with a modern dancing music. Benchawee becomes the Molam queen. This movie highlights that traditions can survive and stay popular by adapting to the modern tastes. The producer realizes his mistake. Yearly best singer competition is going to happen. Who will be the next queen of singers? Duang Chan Duang Chai, Thai country music singer, has fans all over Thailand but Benchawee has only Isan fans but Isan workers are everywhere so spreading their culture. A vote happens and Benchawee is aware that she won. Somwit brings Benchawee to meet his parents. His father refuses this wedding as he is coming from high society. For him an Isan girl is same as a Lao girl so denigrating both. The game is cheated and Duang chan Duang Chai Chan is announced as winner. Molam couldn't be accepted by Bangkok elite (คนเศรษฐีโกหก) So Benchawee couldn't win. The elite has chosen but Thai people have chosen also. Benchawee’s concert is a huge success while Duang Chan Duang Chai concert is a complete failure as spectators flock to see Benchawee singing. She becomes the queen of grassroots (ราชินีดอกหญ้า) instead of the queen of flowers (ราชินีดอกฟ้า). The perjury is disclosed as hidden votes are found. It is fun to see Jarunee Sooksawad singing Molam songs (หมอลำสาวบ้านนอก). Lao and Thai languages are used in this movie shot in year 1986. The movie lasts 2h03mn. It got three rewards (รางวัลสุพรรณหงส์) during Thai film industry ceremony.

หมอบ้านนอก
หมอบ้านนอก

Year: 1985

Thai title: หมอบ้านนอก
English title:

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Piya Trakulrard,Doo Dook Kradon
Main actress: Jarunee Sooksawad

Thai movie หมอบ้านนอก was released in year 1985. Directeur is Surasee Phatham. The movie was shot in Surin province. Phanom (Piya Trakulrard) became village doctor as one of his relatives died due to lack of doctor. Mountebanks (หมอเถื่อน) have no diploma so they are illegal. Some are charlatans such as Doo Dook Kradon but Phanom is useful. Such illegal doctors have their utility to the community as official doctors are often absent from remote areas. Doctor หมอผู้หญิง Kwanta (Jarunee Sooksawad) is the first doctor with diploma in this district (แพทย์ปริญญาจากกรุงเทพฯ). She asks Thai Police to stop the fake doctors selling fake medicine to villagers (ชาวบ้าน). A policeman is shot in the village. Kwanta doesn't have the right equipment so Phanom is helping to remove the bullet. Phanom wishes to stop doing this job as there is now Kwanta as official doctor. Illegal village doctors are arrested by Police. Kwanta disrupts local illegal business so some people try to kill her (ฆ่าคนดีๆ). Phanom is injured instead. Police believes Phanom is behind the murder tentative on Kwanta. Finally the mastermind is arrested. Phanom surrenders to the police and requests to help a villager a last time. He saves an elder man through a blood transfusion. In the jail, he assists to a TV show showing Kwanta receiving an award. She gives a praise to Phanom and succeeds to get an official diploma for him so that he can practice legally.

สวรรค์บ้านนา
สวรรค์บ้านนา

Year: 1983

Thai title: สวรรค์บ้านนา
English title:

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Piya Trakulrard,Ed Carabao,Doo Dook Kradon
Main actress:

สวรรค์บ้านนา is a Thai movie released in year 1983. This movie is about Isan, northeastern region of Thailand. The movie features fourteen great songs. Isan people come to Bangkok for work but then they have to go back to home when rainy season is coming in order to take care of rice fields (ทำนา). They face harsh life in Bangkok. Most of Isan workers have manufacturing job in factories, work in bar / nightclub, work as Tuk Tuk driver, toilets boy (boy ห้องน้ำ)... Teuk (Carabao Ed - แอ๊ด) is fired from the bar in which he is performing as people don't like his songs. A group of ten friends including Sitha (Piya Trakulrard) and Fai invite him to discover life in countryside (ชีวิตชนบท) as it is time for rice season. Isan people dream to go back home to build their paradise (สวรรค์บ้านนา). As there is a rice crop only once a year they have no choice but to go working in Bangkok. Souvenirs (ของฝาก) are brought by them when they come back to the village where only old people and children stay. Nang wishes to be a molam singer (นางเอกมอลำ) but her father doesn't allow. Villagers help each other and shared work happens in the rice fields using buffalo. Romances are happening. The movie is showing how the rice season is happening. The movie shows Isan culture such as "Bun Bang Fai" (บุญบ้างไฟ) festival parade. The rocket competition is ending in fightings between groups. Many men are disappointed (อกหัก) as Sitha and Nang love each other. The father wishes to choose his daughter's husband by himself (ชอบลูกเสียงหรือลูกสาว). One villager is coming back from Saudi Arabia having a big house, building a new house for his father, having latest TV, Hi Fi and listening to western music but his wife is gone (ชู). A local villager called Kaew, being jealous about Sitha, talks to Nang's father. Nang is not allowed to meet Sitha anymore. Buddhist Lent festival (วันเข้าภรรษา) is coming. This movie is showing life in Isan with rice culture (ทำนา) and its various steps, religious ceremonies, harsh life in Isan, special dishes (ลาบเลือด…), hunting... Sitha is disappointed as misunderstandings happen with Nang. Sitha's friend convinces his father (ชาวนา) to sell his rice fields to pay for the fee to go to Saudi Arabia. Nang's father sends her to the city to try to break their relationship. On the day of Nang's fiancailles with villager Kaew, Nang flees with Sitha. Nang's father, afraid to lose his daughter, promotes her as molam main singer (นางเอกมอลำ) in his band and accepts finally Sitha. Rice season is over (หมดหน้านา). A farewell to local spirits (ปู่ตา) before departure to Bangkok is done. Famous Carabao song Pu Tao (เพลง ผู้เฒ่า) is sung by Ed. Everybody is back to work in Bangkok. One goes to Saudi Arabia. Ed finally composes some famous songs following his stay in Isan. Only old people are left when young people go back to work in Bangkok. The movie lasts currently 2h03mn. Due to its success it was released two times. But on the second release, some sequences and Carabao songs have disappeared. A 2h15mn version was shown on VHS and cable TV. The original length is 2h30mn. Director is Surasee Phatham who directed many famous social movies.

ผู้แทนนอกสภา
ผู้แทนนอกสภา

Year: 1983

Thai title: ผู้แทนนอกสภา
English title: The MP outside the Parliament

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Doo Dook Kradon
Main actress:

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After successful studies in Bangkok, Boonchai (บุญชัย) represents his party for member of Parliament election in rural Northeast of Thailand. Many other candicates register to the election to become member of Parliament. There are candicates of important parties with impressive list of diploma they got abroad but can they understand the poor people problems? There is a candidate backed up by the government, who is spending a lot of money to have huge billboards and is offering free gifts with his voting number. There is a funny candidate that wishes to clean the political dirt with a broom and bring light to democracy with a lantern. Boonchai has left Isan many years to study in Bangkok and has gone through the 1976 revolution. He got voting number 8. He announced to his girlfriend, who is a teacher lady, that he is trying to become member of Parliament to help the local people but she is worried as politics is a difficult and dangerous matter in Thailand. Some candidates give money for people to buy alcohol, some others give free medicine to buy the hearts and votes of local people but they don't bother to discuss with them and listen to their problems. They just promise more gifts to come. The money they spend to buy vote, they will get it back when they are elected. Boonchai is visiting villagers also on his small motorbike but he has no gifts to offer. He is not coming only for one day to change farmers life by bringing gifts but with ideas for the next four years to change their life. One taxi driver, seduced by his program, offers Boonchai to drive him anywhere he wishes. The government candidate doesn't care to visit the people as the "stupid buffalo" farmers can be bought with money. Meanwhile other candidates compete on gifs and on the biggest speakers to make their voice louder. They look like more fruit sellers! Boonchai is a local child of the region so he knows the farmers problems. He eats same food as farmers, works with farmers and propose them solution to improve their daily life and revenue increase by shifting various cultures all over the year. Villagers like his project up to the point that he starts to be a real political threat to the candidate backed up by the government. This latter decides to use bad tactics, i.e. villagers are threatened that they will not receive subsidies any more if anybody in a village votes for him, Boonchai is also accused to be a communist. Finally he is beaten by 4 tough men but it makes him more popular as many villagers support him. He is comforted to fight against adversity. The evil candidate tries to use drunkards to disturb his political meetings but they are expelled by his supporters. The evil candidate plans an outdoor cinema projection in order to disturb Boonchai's meeting hoping that people would prefer entertainment to serious politics. But it fails also. The evil candidate decides to send a team to kill Boonchai at night time when he is back from late political meetings. He succeeds to escape to assassination and villagers protect him. People voice is growing against bad politicians. Villagers provide him a gun to defend him-self. The evil candidate decides to use a hitman to get rid of Boonchai. Boonchai dies but he still wins the election as local people vote massively for him. Good men disappear and corrupted men remain... This movie gives a real image of Thai politics thirty years ago. But did nowadays Thai politics really improve? Former PM and politician MR Kukrit Pramoj appeared in this movie. Mr Kukrit showed up briefly at the beginning of the film, playing a party leader who gives a talk to the candidates. Not long after that, a new law prohibited political parties from attracting votes by playing in films.

ครูดอย
ครูดอย

Year: 1982

Thai title: ครูดอย
English title: Mountain teacher

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Piya Trakulrard,Doo Dook Kradon
Main actress: Wassana Sitthiweth,Nanthida Kaewbuasai

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Thai movie ครูดอย was released in year 1982. It lasts 1h50mn. Four new teachers (including Piya Trakulrard, Doo Dook Kradon and Wassana Sitthiweth) are sent to Loei in a remote village located on a mountain. They are welcomed by indifferent villagers busy doing gambling (การพนัน). Teacher Sompong is already in the village. Sompong (Sorapong Chatree) indulges in alcohol (สุรา) as he feels useless. Only one monk is left in the village. Villagers seem to be very strong here (ไม่ร่วมมือ). Those new teachers teach children and adults. The school is very basic. Teacher Sompong made a pond for villagers to avoid getting water from far away. One part of the village is under influence of a ruffian managing an underground casino and wishing to undercut influence of the village headman and teacher Sompong. Wan (Nanthida Kaewbuasai) is worried about teacher Sompong. New teachers succeed to have villagers working to build new school by flattering the ruffian. They also finish teacher Sompong's task by bringing water in the village through bamboo pipes. The ruffian feels betrayed as the merit goes back to teacher Sompong. Some old people die because of cold. Teachers organise a concert donation (บริจาคคนจน) to get warm clothes for villagers. It is a success and such remote village gets awareness. Their next action is to convince village men to stop gambling. Tempting the luck (การเสี่ยงโชค) is the only hope of poor people. The teachers buy cheated dices to win village men’s money and have it reused to improve the school. Having no more pocket money, the village men keep drinking alcohol. One of the teachers simulates being sick because of the alcohol to convince them to stop drinking. Teachers convince villagers to work together and to prepare rice fields on mountains slopes. Wan is sick during rainy season and there is no more medicine. It is a nightmare to go to the nearest city and roads are stuck in the mud. There is no electricity in the village. Good weather is back. The teachers go to sell their products at the city. When they are back, Wan is dead. It is time for the four young teachers to be allocated to somewhere else. Teacher Sompong stays as he is a mountain teacher (ครูดอย) and villagers need him. Thanks to the teachers, villagers are now able to take care about themselves, take decision and do not rely on external help only. In this movie, director Surasee Phatham uses Isan music as background. His movie shows the dedication of the teachers going in remote areas with cold winter.

หนองหมาว้อ
หนองหมาว้อ

Year: 1979

Thai title: หนองหมาว้อ
English title:

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Noppadol Duangporn
Main actress: Wassana Sitthiweth

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The teacher called Piya is dead but the young lady teacher continues to stay in the village. Farmers have many debts, so are forced to sell at low price the harvest before reaping. They are being cheated. The young lady teacher convinces the farmers to unite themselves in cooperatives in order to sell in common after reaping and to get the "real" market price. One hundred chariots leaded by buffaloes bring the rice into the city. But the powerful buyers don't agree... Her life is in danger.

ครูบ้านนอก
ครูบ้านนอก

Year: 1978

Thai title: ครูบ้านนอก
English title: The Rural Teacher

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surasee Phatham

Main actor: Piya Trakulrard,Noppadol Duangporn
Main actress: Wassana Sitthiweth

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A new teacher, Piya (ครูปิยะ), is sent to poor Isan (อีสาน), northeastern part of Thailand, in a remote village called Baan Nong Ma Wo (บ้านหนองหมาว้อ). There are still carts with buffaloes there. An old and derelict bus is the only link to the bigger provincial city. On the way to the village, the old bus needs to give priority to big logging concession truck. The headmaster (ครูใหญ่) shares classrooms with Piya and Phisit. Dao (ดวงดาว), young lady, is the third teacher. They teach two classrooms with many children at same time. Those are outdoor classrooms with basic roof. Children have no shoes and wear old clothes. The headmaster tries his best but he is not smart. There is a welcome ceremony for the teachers. Phisit is a butterfly with ladies. The headmaster likes playing cards. There is a puppet allegory of fighting together against evil makes us stronger. Rural teachers’ job is tough. Phisit just comes here as he couldn't find another job but Piya, who is also coming from Isan, wishes to transfer his knowledge to pupils. He is an idealistic man. The village is poor and there is a need to get water from a remote pond. Piya sees many children don't have enough food to eat so he decides to plant vegetable (ปลูกผัก) in the school garden to provide them additional food. The headmaster needs to go to the city to get rural teachers’ salary but every month the salary is cut by various fees (birthday gifts to high ranking teachers, donation to temples, visiting bordel...). Local villagers use a chaman to cure people as poor people cannot afford modern doctors (หมอรักษา). Piya is pushing for an expansion of the school. All villagers like him (เป็นคนดีไม่พ่อต้องมีเงินด้วย). Khun Mongkhon, local magnate, always makes donations to the school. Dao wishes to make a local newspaper for villagers. The village head is concerned as villagers shall not become too intelligent! During a welcome party, teacher Phisit and Piya have to box some officials to protect Dao. Phisit has to leave the village as rural teachers have no value. Dao loves this place (ยากจนแต่ใจดี). Piya wishes to be a boat for children to cross the sea between poorness, wealth and knowledge. Piya witnesses some illegal tree logging. Those people have big bad influence but Piya decides to investigate. He finds the place and takes pictures to send to local newspapers. He even takes the risk to shoot the responsible leaders. Khun Mongkhon is the leader. Newspaper is published and Mongkhon suspects Piya immediately as he is infusing social ideas into the kids. Even villagers start to challenge the ruffians. The ruffians cut trees (ตัดไม้เถื่อน) so soon there will be no forest and no water for the trees. Villagers decide to protect teacher Piya as the ruffians try to shoot him. His life is in danger. Dao wants him to leave (คนที่ทำประโยชน์ให้). There is undeclared love between Dao and Piya. Piya takes refuge in a Buddhist temple. Ruffians recruit a hitman. Piya decides to go back to teach the children as it is his duty. During a moving and sad scene where the children rush out of the school to welcome Piya, he is shot to death. This movie highlights many themes such as corruption, bad influence, rural teacher dedication, education and knowledge for children in order to fight against corrupted people. There is molam (หมอลำ) music as background music as it is the symbol of poor Isan (อีสาน), northeastern part of Thailand. The movie succeeded to reap 9M Baht in year 1978 and got two awards for best scenario and best director. Surasee Phatham has directed a remake of his own movie in 2009 as he was never happy with the number of details that were edited out. Thirty years ago too, many young people were involved in social and political activities so many filmgoers found it easy to identify with the teacher. In 1978, everyone wanted to watch action movies but when the movies "The Rural Teacher" (ครูบ้านนอก) and "The Old Scar" (แผลเก่า) were released, they were successful.

ทองปาน
ทองปาน

Year: 1976

Thai title: ทองปาน
English title: Tong Pan

Rating: 5/5
Director: Euthana Mukdasanit,Surasee Phatham,Isan Group

Main actor:
Main actress:

Tong Pan is a poor peasant from Isan, Northeast area of Thailand. He has three kids and his wife is sick. He is now living in Chiang Khan as he has to move earlier from his former home flooded due to a dam construction. He is invited by a student to partipate to a seminar regarding the contruction of a new dam in Pak Chong area. He is going there hoping for changement into peasants' life. He is only a hired peasant, he has no more land. He got only 2000 Baht a year and cannot even get a forward payment from his greedy landlord to cure his sick wife. Following the October 1973 uprising, government wants to add more democracy in the decision making. Foreign engineer, professors, governmental agency officials, local inhabitants including Thong Pan join the seminar. The foreign engineer explains the great advantages of the dam from an economic point of view. But local inhabitants cannot understand spoken English! They use local Isan dialect. The governmental agency officials complain that nobody thinks about Thailand's future. It is good for the country for selling electricity abroad and anyway it is difficult to find advantages for all. The minority shall sacrifice it-self as long as it good for the majority. There is a parallel between the theory discussed at the seminar and the reality that local peasants are experimenting (houses and land flooded, no more water in rice fields during dry season and flood during rainy season as water is released from dam, no more fishes to catch, no trees to build house as forests have been cut, sickness, poverty, electricity for the rich not for the poor...). Finally participants remind that it should be good to get the feedback from locals. But Thong Pan is already gone as he knows nothing can change. One local raise that they want fertile land but also complains about officials corruption, thieves, illegal sawmills that cut forests, missing healthcare for them as they can never visit doctors. When Tong Pan reaches home, his wife is already dead. Tong Pan movie was banned following the 1976 demonstrations. Participants and directors were sent to jail or exiled following this 1976 uprising. The Culture Ministry registers 25 Thai classic films each year at the National Film Heritage Registry. This movie is part of the 25 films heritage list announced on 04 October 2011, which is Thai Movies Conservation Day.




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