Thai movie - Selected Theme

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Some social problem movies (หนังสะท้อนสังคม) deal about conflicts between poor people, government officials (policemen, soldiers, bureaucrats) and businessmen. The plots of these films usually involve the conflicts between classes such as poor people and their oppressors. The villains are the businessmen, embezzled politicians and corrupt government officials. At the end of these films, the conflicts cannot be resolved. The poor people are always the losers and the injustices continue. In such films, monarchy and Buddhist monkhood are present to symbolize the Thai community but do not help to solve the problems of poor people. Main characters in 1970s films are often killed as they do not have the support of the bureaucratic system. A new generation of government officials, reflecting the ideals of Thais in the 1970s, become the middle class in the 1980s. They represent the hope of solving social problems and of making the bureaucratic system better.The teacher represents morality itself.
เขาชื่อกานต์
เขาชื่อกานต์

Year: 1973

Thai title: เขาชื่อกานต์
English title: His name is Karn

Rating: 5/5
Director: ChatriChalerm Yukol

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree
Main actress: Naiyana Shewanan

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Dr. Kan gets married with a Bangkokian lady called Areutai. They go to countryside in Phitsanulok where Dr. Kan has been assigned. Areutai knows that her husband is poor but appreciates his maturity despite having the same age. Areutai's mother complains that in province Dr Kan will become rich slowly (รวยช้า). How can poor people find money to pay medicine? There is no way to become rich. On the oppositive in Bangkok, he could be rich in one day. Anyway it will be a lesson of life for Areuai (ชีวิตบ้านนอกมันเป็นอย่างไร). They arrive in Amphoe Babadan through oxcart riding. There is no doctor in the district so local people need to go to provincial centre or to contact a local shaman (หมอผี) or someone unaccredited as a doctor (หมอเถื่อน). There is at least a dispensary (สถานีอนามัย). Areutai is a romantic lady and able to do many things by herself but she doesn't want to be poor her whole life. Before Dr Kan, she met Moon, who is a rich man. He wanted to marry Areutai but was too slow to ask. Dr. Kan faces his first serious case when a man is bitten by a snake. It is too late to cure so the patient dies. Some local people complain on modern doctors (หมอสมัยใหม่) believing that any medicine injected can cure. Dr. Kan decided to come to the remote area to help poor people (คนน่าสงสาร). Dr. Kan and Areutai are having happiness (ชีวิตเป็นสุข) the first months but then Areutai wants to work. She is lonely. They don't have enough money to bear a baby. Dr. Kan is very busy (งานยุ่งมาก). Areutai is fed up. She decides to takes a break and goes to Bangkok. Moon still misses her. In Phitsanulok, it is already the rainy season (น้ำท่วม) so there is more work for Dr. Kan. Areutai is hoping for a letter from her husband to go back. Meanwhile she is out (เที่ยวทุกวัน) every day with Moon. She has a car accident with Moon as he doesn't want to let her go back to Phitsanulok. The district officer doesn't like Dr. Kan as he refused to give some free medicine stock for the district officer relatives' personal usage. Dr. Kan discover that a casino (บ่อน) is running at night time. The district officer is using his influence (อิทธิพล) to protect it (คลุม). Police cannot interfere. A fight happens inside the casino. A relative of the district officer is injured. Dr. Kan cannot help (ช่วยก็ไม่ได้) as the patient needs urgent blood transfer in hospital. He is not a god (ไม่ใช้หมอเทวดา). Some local people think that Dr. Kan refuses to help relatives of the district officer. The relative dies. Learning that Areutai is at hospital, Dr. Kan needs to go back urgently to Bangkok. Dr. Kan is confused. He thinks about opening a cabinet doctor in Bangkok. Moon wishes to talk with Dr. Kan. There are harsh words between the two men. Dr. Kan needs to choose between offering happy life to his wife or helping poor people. Moon tries to have Dr. Kan sent abroad. Dr. Kan goes back to Phitsanulok and faces death intimidations threats from the district officer's relatives (หมอกานต์ในบ่อน่ไม่ยอมลงให้กู - คนเก่งอยู่ไม่ได้). As Areutai's memory is back, he decides to go abroad to gain more money to make his wife happier. He goes back to Phitsanulok a last time to wrap up his activities. His police friend can do nothing against the district officer. He drinks alcohol to forget his uselessness (this was a taboo in Thai movies before). The district officer is under investigation and will likely be condemned to jail. Dr. Kan is witness of the district officer's illegal activities. His relatives belief that Dr. Kan is the one who discloses the whole story to authorities during his trips to Bangkok. Dr. Kan is shot dead by them during a storm. He was a good person (เขาเป็นคนดี). ChatriChalerm Yukol criticized the Thai bureaucracy and presented the problems of rural area. The film was successful at box office and received good reviews. As the district officer was a corrupted character, the movie has difficulty passing the film censorship committee. ChatriChalerm Yukol showed the film to Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn and then the film passed approval. It is likely that if ChatriChalerm Yukol were not the great-grandson of King Chulalongkorn, the film wouldn't have passed the censorship committee as he couldn't have met the Prime Minister. The movie is based on a novel from Suwannee Sukontha written in 1970. The movie "เขาชื่อกานต์n" actually threw away all the main characters of the Thai classical drama (clown, maid of honor...) so it was an unconventional movie compared to the 1960s Thai movies standards. Main actor Sorapong Chatree got a golden statuette (ตุ๊กตาทองดารานำชาย) for his interpretation as Doctor Kan.

สตรีที่โลกลืม
สตรีที่โลกลืม

Year: 1975

Thai title: สตรีที่โลกลืม
English title: Dark Lady

Rating: 3/5
Director: Chutima Suwannarat

Main actor: Sombat Methanee
Main actress: Tasawan Saneewong,Metta Roongrat

Thai movie สตรีที่โลกลืม was released in year 1975. It only lasts 1h10mn. Some parts are missing. The DVD is made from an earlier TV recording. Thaew (Metta Roongrat) is a bus money receiver (กระเป๋ารถเมล์) but she dislikes her job. Wone (Tasawan Saneewong)'s father is killed by a hitman (พ่อถูกยิง). Her boyfriend is Athit (Sombat Methanee). Athit is learning English. Athit sells some family land. He gets cash money from a lawyer (veteran actor). While going back home with his grandmother, they are aggressed by ruffians, who steal the money. The grandmother is killed. Athit chases the ruffians and finds that the mastermind is the lawyer himself. He chases him until a bank but has to back away as the police is coming. Meanwhile while going back home, Wone finds her mother in bed with a man called Prajak (น่าสงสารวิญญาณของพ่อ). He is the one who shot the father. Won dislikes him and he tries to abuse her. Wone complains to Athit but this one is focusing on taking revenge on the lawyer. Athit doesn't want to become a bad guy but life forces him (ไม่ได้ตั้งใจทำผิด มันมาหาผมเอง). Athit teaches a lesson to Prajak and injures him. Wone is chased by her mother from the house. Wone looks for Thaew but it seems she is now a prostitute (เป็นกะหรี่) as it earns more money. There is a visit to a rogue doctor as Wone needs to abort. Later on, the doctor wishes to meet again Wone but she refuses. He tries to blackmail her at her school with a picture taken during the abortion. Thaew promises to help her. He is finally arrested by the police as abortion is illegal act. Being rich, the doctor is released and warns Wone that he will take revenge. Wone is expelled from school as they receive the bad picture. Athit robs a shop. Wone realises than doing good is not always perceived positively by people (คนดี คนเลว). Athit promises to Wone to stop. Athit kills the men involved in his grandmother's death one by one including the lawyer. Athit's men continue to steal. Wone helps a child hit by a car and brings him to the hospital. Police wished to thank her. They knock at her home and finds Athit, who is arrested. Doing good has caused her demise. Movie director is ชุติมา สุวรรณรัต. Two other actors are เสริมพันธ์ สุทธิเนตร, อัศวิน รัตนประชา.

แด่คุณครูด้วยคมแฝก
แด่คุณครูด้วยคมแฝก

Year: 1975

Thai title: แด่คุณครูด้วยคมแฝก
English title:

Rating: 4/5
Director: Ruj Ronnapop

Main actor: Nard Poowanai,Sayan Chantaravi​boon,Nirut Sirijanya
Main actress: Aranya Namwong,Donnapha Sophee

Thai movie แด่คุณครูด้วยคมแฝก was released in year 1975. The last reel lasting 24mn is left to be seen. A VHS was also released many years ago. Two teachers are killed as they refuse to mingle with the local leader. Chai (Nard Poowanai) is nominated as new school headmaster (ครูใหญ่คนใหม่) for village Krok. Teacher Tawon is played by Sayan Chantaraviboon. Ruffians are always looking for trouble (ขอเรื่อง). Old teacher Piek is often drunk as unable to oppose to the ruffians. The ruling here is done through guns (กฎหมายที่นี่คือปืน). Chai meets Duang Kaew (Aranya Namwong), daughter of the ruffians’ leader called Krot. Duang Kaew doesn't want to help anybody else despite Chai asking her to bring usefulness to society and nation. Teacher Yim is played by Nirut Sirijanya. The father Krot refuses to help to build a new school. Chai wishes to teach children as the villagers’ knowledge need to increase. No future without knowledge. Teachers are keys in the development of children (ครูคือแม่ที่สอง) in remote villages as parents are busy in rice fields. Young teacher lady Raem (Donnapha Sophee) goes with Yim as Chai refuses her advances. Ruffians kidnap teacher Raem and rape her. Disgusted, Duang Kaew humiliates the rapists, blames her father (สังสอนพ่อ) and joins villagers' side (ลูกอกันตันยุ) to fight injustice. Krot’s son uses violence to build popularity (สร้างบารมี) for his father. Old teacher Piek goes for duel with ruffians but he is shot by them. Angry by this death, rebellion happens led by teacher Chai. The father and his men surround the village. Duang Kaew is on the villagers’ side. Pushed by his daughter, the father wishes to change and condemn the rapists but his son Kampaeng is not willing. Shooting happens as Kampeng wants to kill teacher Chai. Following confusion and houses burning, Kampaeng is also shot and dies. The father asks to stop the killings and promises to change. He asks teacher Chai to stay and commits 300 000 baht to build a new school. The teacher offers him a book about karma.

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.

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.

ไผ่แดง
ไผ่แดง

Year: 1979

Thai title: ไผ่แดง
English title: Red bamboo

Rating: 5/5
Director: Permpol Choei-arun

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Suchao Pongwilai,Krailat Kriengkrai
Main actress: Lalana Sulawan

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Red bamboo is a novel writen by famous writer M.R. Kukrit Pramoj in 1954. It was reprinted 19 times and translated in 9 languages. It is adapted from "The Little World of Don Camillo". The movie deals about the opposition between the new faith (Communism) and the old faith (Buddhism). It is about the conflicts that arose between traditional Thai village life and the forces of modernization that were transforming the country. It takes place in Isan region, northeastern part of Thailand. It is the hot season. Kwen is a local villager but he is seen as a communist even if he doesn't fully understand the doctrine foundations. He wants to refuse the help from government. Monk and government are working together to give food to poor villagers. Evan Luang Pho Buddha statue is magically giving advice to the abbot, Sompan, as sometimes he has also doubts ansd weaknesses. Kwen, the red communist, helps villagers and challenges the local power regarding debt cycle and the current society behavior. When Kwen was a child, he was friend (สหาย) with Sompan. Kwen believes that religion is hurt by the politics as they are too close. The government uses the Buddhist religion as an ally. Both Sompan, the abbot, and Kwen, the red communist, want to help poor people but not in the same way. The abbot is seen as a traitor (ทรยศ) by the communists. The rain finally comes. Kwen thinks that religion is only helping people when they are hungry in order that later they do donations to the temple. A Chinese moneylender, called Sia, is present in the village. The villagers believe time has arrived and that communist rebellion will happen. They plan to get weapons and arrest the monks. Kwen warns his friend Sompan but he refuses to leave. Finally the rebellion was only a falso rumour. Tom is one of Kwen's partisan. Tom doesn't want to ordain 15 days but finally accepts to ease his aging mother (ไม่นับถือศาสนา). Sompan is first reluctant to accept. Another Kwen's partisan, Thip, causes trouble. Thip’s girlfriend, Kathiem, is three months pregnant. Kathiem would like to follow up traditions but Thip refuses (ไม่ย่อมแต่ง) to follow as traditions are a threat to own liberty (เสรี). Love shall prevail over traditions. Finally the wedding happens. On top of this Tom is not willing to disrobe. So Kwen is angry with Sompan (หลอกชาวบ้าน). A fake monk raises belief into spirits in order to get money from villagers but he is expelled by Sompan. Meanwhile the Chinese moneylender gets some villagers' land and rent it to them! There is still no school in the village. Sompan and Kwen support each other to help financing the school (บริจาค). As the money is not enough, Sompan gives money from the temple to help build the school (โรงเรียนประชาชน). Tom and the subdistrict headman’s daughter like each other so Tom disrobes. Tom's mother has no land anymore as she sold it to get money from the Chinese moneylender. There is an issue to decide on the location of the school. The two villages are separated by a small bridge. A meeting is organized in the Buddhist temple to solve the conflict (โรงเรียนใหม่). The school shall be built on the bridge so it is really in the middle of the two villages. But the soil now belongs to rich moneylender Sia. Sia already agreed with the district Chief Officer to build a dam so arguments raise between Sia and the villagers. The soil transfer is found as illegal as it was not officially stamped. Ruffians come with guns. So the villagers have to flee but Kwen prepares a plan to fight back. Kwen wishes to fight against corrupted officials. Villagers capture Sia and his ruffians during nighttime. Finally a high ranking official recognizes that Sia is a dishonest man and thanks the villagers for their action towards him. The school can now be completed. Collaboration between Kwen and Sompan is finally successful as Kwen accepts to ease down his communist aspirations. In 1990, a Thai TV serie (ละคร) based on the same story was produced This movie has also bee registered as National Heritage per the 2016 list released by the Thai Film Archive.

นายอำเภอคนใหม่
นายอำเภอคนใหม่

Year: 1980

Thai title: นายอำเภอคนใหม่
English title:

Rating: 4/5
Director: Phan Kam

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Sombat Methanee,Sor Asanajinda,Suchao Pongwilai
Main actress: Jarunee Sooksawad,Penpak Sirikul,Reuthairat Amatawanit

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In Northern Thailand, a district officer is shot in the back. He was fighting against illegal trees cut. It is the fourth officer killed on duty in five years. A new one (Sombat Methanee) is nominated. The new district officer understands very fast that a latent corruption happens and that local people (ชาวป่า) are expected to give gifts (chickens, daughter given as maid as a compensation of non paid debts...). The new district officer's adjoint is called Palat and is played by Suchao Pongwilai again with brio in the role of rogue officer. Sor Asanajinda plays the role of a brusque villager complaining indirectly regarding rampant corruption. His son Pol (Sorapong Chatree) is also very active. The minister who sent the district officer has problems with his own daughter, Nit (Jarunee Sooksawad), due to misunderstanding with his new wife. She leaves for the same village Daran Thong and becomes the local teacher. Nit has also medicine knowledge and has to face local fear of ghosts and sorcerer (หมอผี). Old people prefer using sorcerer instead of modern pills. Thanks to Nit and with Pol's leadership, the farmers ask for higher prices and debts resettlement to the trader. Local trader tries to corrupt the district officer but fails to do so. The corrupted subdistrict headman (กำนัน) and trader start to be very upset. They try to buy land as they know that a road will be built to the village but Pol asks villagers to refuse to sell. The subdistrict headman daughter Sophit is back from studying abroad. Palat is secretly fond of her. A young lady called Bukham is raped and killed by Palat. Palat accuses Pol with false proofs. Pol flees and discovers that many trees are cut illegally. Nobody speaks due to fear. The new district officer asks Pol to surrender if he is innocent. Pol's father is found hanged as he spoke too much (พูดประชด - พูดมาก) against corrupted officers. The adjoint uses local people to build the road at a cheaper price. Nit brings the villagers to the province officer to ask for full payments and she wins. Meanwhile Palat rapes the subdistrict headman daughter Sophit and strangles her. Pol's brother sees it and warns his brother. Sabin and Nit get attacked. Sabin is captured but Nit can flee. Nit and Pol come to help Sabin and bring Sophit's dead body to the subdistrict headman. This one wishes to kill Palat as revenge but gets shot before. Finally Palat gets smashed by a log in the illegal logging factory and the district officer helps to catch all ruffians. A school and hospital shall be built by the previous corrupting trader. The movie finishes happily, Nit is named school director (ครูใหญ่ใหม่), Pol is named new subdistrict headman (กำนันใหม่). This movie with social and meaningful messages also involves comedy and romance and not only pure drama. A new generation of government officials is here to replace the previous corrupted generation.

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.

มือปืน
มือปืน

Year: 1983

Thai title: มือปืน
English title: Gunman I

Rating: 5/5
Director: ChatriChalerm Yukol

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Krai Kanchit
Main actress: Chalita Puttamapun

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It is about the story of Sommai, a barber, who is acting as a gunman ("MEU PEUN" - มือปืน) in order to get money to cure his sick boy. He is an veteran soldier who has fought in Laos but was left behind by his superior Tanu after saving his life. Now his previous superior is a policeman involved in gunman investigations. Tanu has a reputation for killing criminals. Applying gratitude ("KATANJOO" - กตัญญู) towards his previous mate, the investigation is going slowly until a younger policeman gets involved... This film highlights conflicts between poor people (the gunman and his family), the government officials (policemen and soldiers) and wealthy influential businessmen. This movie has received 5 Thai awards. The opening scene in Gunman I, when the camera moved along and made viewers feel as though they were riding on a motorcycle with the lead character, has remained famous.

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.

ครูเสือ
ครูเสือ

Year: 1984

Thai title: ครูเสือ
English title:

Rating: 4/5
Director:

Main actor: Pisarn Akraseranee,Boo Wibunnan,Kowit Wattanakul
Main actress: Supansa Nuengpirom

A Thai Chinese type businessman is offering land (ค่าที่ดิน) for school extension. Kru Seua (ครูใหญ่), school headmaster, is accepting on behalf of the school. Kru Seua (ครูเสือ) has a good reputation with all villagers (ครูดี). A new Bangkok sexy lady teacher Boot (ผู้ช่วย) is arriving at the school. Miss Boot has high expectations but Kru Seua reminds her that all teachers have same level, same room, same toilets as it is countryside school (โรงเรียนบ้านนอก). So all teachers have to follow the rules, show good behavior including appropriate clothing and proper speech! Kru Seua chases pupils up to the waterfall as they try to escape his mathematics lesson. Pupils are punished using the old way, i.e. beaten severely with a stick. Teacher Boot tries to intervene and to oppose but to no avail. Kru Seua is respected by the villagers but Boot believes his teaching methods are outdated (โบราณ) and promises herself to win over him. Some children behave badly, steal other people belongings or play betting games (ทำดียาก - ทำชั่วง่าย). There is even a small mafia (นักเลงแทนนักเรียน). Kru Seua encourages pupils to share food as some of them do not have enough to eat. A mother has her son Pleun, being a former convict, released from prison after three years. His wife has gone and his son is sick. He needs money. Chinese businessman’s grandson comes to study at Kru Seua’s school but he has a bad behavior believing he can do anything as his grandfather funds the school. Kru Seua refuses his entry as all children shall be the same in school (short hair, same uniform). The Chinese businessman argues his donations give him any right but then where is the virtue (บุญ) of doing donation if there is a hidden compensation? The child brings itching powder in the classroom. Finally unable to accept more, Kru Seua cuts himself the boy’s hair very short (หน้าที่ของครู). The grandfather goes to police to fill a complain. Kru Seua refuses to bend to bad influence. Meanwhile the kid is kidnapped by Pleun. Kru Seua knows the kidnapper Pleun who is a former student in the school. Kru Seua is an easy man, eating simple food from villagers by using hands. A romance starts between Kru Seua and Boot. Boot tries to convince Kru Seua not to dismiss following the pressure he received from the Police and the Thai Chinese businessman. They finally find Pleun at old Prasat Muang Singh Khmer temple. Kru Seua convinces him to release the child and to surrender to the police. The former convict has always seen Kru Seua as his third parents (พ่อแม่ที่สาม). Kru Seua has decided to quit his job. Despite excuses from the Thai Chinese businessman and his son, despite cries from the children and Boot, Kru Seua seems inflexible. Will he change his mind? Many Thai movies produced in years 1978 to 1984 were related to teachers such as ครูชายแดน, ครูบ้านนอก, ครูสมศรี, ครูจันทร์แรม, ครูปิยะ. Teachers are always supposed to be a reference and show perfect behavior to Thai pupils.

อิสรภาพของ ทองพูน โคกโพ
อิสรภาพของ ทองพูน โคกโพ

Year: 1985

Thai title: อิสรภาพของ ทองพูน โคกโพ
English title: Freedom of Citizen (Citizen II)

Rating: 5/5
Director: ChatriChalerm Yukol

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Suchao Pongwilai,Krailat Kriengkrai
Main actress:

It is the second opus of the movie Citizen. As the Citizen I movie's main actor has died, Sorapong Chatree was used instead. It is about Thongpoon Khokpoh, a convict going out of prison, and looking for his son. His son refuses to meet him as he was left over many years. His father was in prison and his mother lives abroad with a foreigner. Thongpoon wishes to get reunited with his son. The movie deals about the lack of freedom about ex prisoners, i.e. difficulty of reinsertion, difficulty to find a job, bad image - an old convict will always be a bad man. He sympathizes with a young girl, who is a pickpocket. People don't trust Thongpoon as he is former convict but he is also not trusting the young girl when she brings back money, thinking she has stolen it. A pickpocket will always be a thief. Thongpoon is a nice guy, never wishing to break rules, never lying or doing something against law. So people call him stupid or buffalo! Thongpoon has difficulty to find a job as he is too honest and always says he is a former convict. Once you're in jail, you're always in jail, in this society. Once you get out of jail, you are still branded by the evidence. He is still an outsider. Through a misunderstanding, he is also confronted to bad policemen (Suchao Pongwilai) who don't believe Thongpoon can seek redemption but the head of police trusts Thongpoon. When a car bumps him, he refuses to sue the car driver and blames his own careless mistake. Finally the car driver seeing his kindness recruits him in his restaurant for tourists. Unfortunately one of his former inmates abducts his son and threatens Thongpoon to hurt his son if Thongpoon doesn't kill his boss, who has an issue with local mafia. Thongpoon's choice is difficult and is put in analogy with an ongoing Ramayakian dance (Rama facing demons) in the restaurant. Finally Thongpoon simulates his boss' murder in order to be reunited with his son and has to work hand in hand with the policeman, who formerly looked down on him, to stop the gangsters. The policeman acknowledges his misjudment on Thongpoon. Thongpoon, his son and the young girl are leaving to Udon Thani. This film highlights conflicts between poor people (Thongpoon, the pickpocket girl), the government officials (policemen) and wealthy influential businessmen.

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.

ครูสมศรี
ครูสมศรี

Year: 1986

Thai title: ครูสมศรี
English title: Somsee

Rating: 5/5
Director: ChatriChalerm Yukol

Main actor: Sor Asanajinda,Settha Sirachaya
Main actress: Chalita Puttamapun

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It is about a big company, which wants to expel slum inhabitants in order to build a modern complex. A young teacher called Somsri is representing the slum and is fighting against the company. This movie shows the power of big Thai companies over slums, Thai rich people power over poor people and the Thai useless bureaucracy. Hopefully a Thai official and a lawyer are helping the teacher Somsri as the slum inhabitants are fully in their rights. Unfortunately, the big company doesn't hesitate to use strong ways such a fire, threats and gunmen. The slum finally wins but the lawyer and teacher Somsri lose their life. The movie is based on an activist teacher in the Klong Toei slum area. The idea on which the movie was based is the real life of teacher Pratheep Ungsongtham. She was called the slum angel.

เขาชื่อกานต์
เขาชื่อกานต์

Year: 1988

Thai title: เขาชื่อกานต์
English title: Dr Karn

Rating: 4/5
Director: Ruj Ronnapop

Main actor: Waruth Woratum
Main actress: Jintara Sookkapat

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This movie is a remake of the movie "Dr Karn" shot in 1973 but with new actors. The previous version was directed by ChatriChalerm Yukol. Doctor Karn (หมอ) is a new doctor with strong principles. He wishes to treat all people. There is no priority for rich people as he is a public doctor (หมอรัฐบาล). Doctor Kan gets scolded by his management for this. Modern doctors have no wish to go to Isan poor region in northeast of Thailand. During his childhood his mother died while his father was bringing her to the nearest doctor by an ox cart. In rural areas, there are a few doctors so people have to travel far. He meets Areuthai (หฤทัย), his future wife, in Bangkok. Doctor Karn’s dream is to be a rural doctor (หมอบ้านนอก) to help and support poor people in Isan area. Karn and Areuthai know each other for 3 months only and decide to marry. Areuthai’s former boyfriend, Thomon, is disappointed and promises to wait until Karn stops loving her. They go to Isan region in a remote village using train and local bus through bumpy roads and dry fields. The local district officer (นายอำเภอ) welcomes them. He is quite rigid on standards. But his subordinates are playing cards with other colleagues and villagers! Areuthai discovers life on rural side with no fridge and no oven. Life is difficult (ลำบาก) for Areuthai as she comes from a rich family in Bangkok. There is no electricity after 9pm. First crisis with the district officer happens as he sent the nurses to work away but they still get paid with their governmental salary shared 50% / 50% with them and the district officer. The doctor Karn discovers that local villagers have to pay again for medicine despite it is already paid by government (ยาให้ใช้ไม่ใช่ให้ขาย). He starts to very popular so causing displeasure to the district officer. Doctor Karn is just and fair (ยุติธรรม). His wife helps as a nurse. This movie is a critic of corrupted officers (ราชการ) who prevent the country to develop properly. Doctor Karn doesn't do this job for money but to help poor villagers. Doctor Karn is working for the villagers’ health benefit but the district officer is working for his own benefit. He refuses to authorize doctor Karn to open a nighttime station (สถานีอนามัย) in case of emergency. Villagers shall go to the doctor's home! Areuthai wishes to be back to Bangkok as she misses her expensive beauty creams and her mum. Doctor Karn has issue with illegal medicine seller protected by the district officer (หมอจะเดือดร้อน). The district officer's wife tries to brain wash Areuthai about having her own house and being able to have good a school abroad for children. How can Areuthai get this with the small salary of a rural doctor? Areuthai argues that doctor Karn doesn't love her as he doesn't wish to improve their living. Doctor Karn is divided between pleasing his wife and helping poor villagers to get access to healthcare. Areuthai goes back to Bangkok to make a break. Doctor Karn stays as he cannot leave his patients. Areuthai's friend asks her to convince doctor Karn to open a clinic in Bangkok. Money is easy here. The former boyfriend, Thomon (โตมร), still wants to meet Areuthai. Areuthai accepts to meet him but for friendship only as she is married. They have a car accident as Thomon is upset that Areuthai still wishes to back to countryside. Doctor is diligent to do his duty (หมอทำหน้าที่). The district officer is having an illegal casino and protects it through his clique (ลูกน้อง). A fight erupts and one is seriously injured. Doctor Karn can do nothing as he lost too much blood already. Only way is to send him to hospital. Doctor Karn is now aware of the casino. He starts to know too much things. Doctor Karn befriends with a local policeman who indulged in alcohol as he can do nothing to stop the district officer. One evening the doctor’s house is shot a few times as a threatening warning. Aware of the accident through a telegram, doctor Karn goes back to Bangkok and finds that Areuthai has lost memory due to accident. Thomon (ลูกเศรษฐี) doesn't want Areuthai to be back with doctor Karn so he organizes his mutation abroad. The doctor headmaster doesn’t understand obstinate doctor Karn regarding rural people (คนบ้านนอกโง่หลอกง่าย). He is forced to accept the post or be dismissed. The district officer is under corruption investigation (ถูกย้าย) and he believes doctor Karn denounced him to Bangkok authorities. Finally doctor Karn and Areuthai will go abroad. Doctor Karn needs to go back to countryside a last time to get back his belongings. His policeman friend wants him to help regarding unwanted pregnancy abortion but he cannot do as it is against law. If policemen don't respect law who will respect the law? He unfortunately doesn't come back as he is shot dead as a revenge of the district officer. Doctor Karn was a good man (เขาเป็นคนดี). This story was also adapted 2 times for television in 1980 and 2011.

ครูไหวใจร้าย
ครูไหวใจร้าย

Year: 1989

Thai title: ครูไหวใจร้าย
English title:

Rating: 3/5
Director:

Main actor: Santisuk Promsiri,Settha Sirachaya,Kiet Kijcharouen
Main actress: Jintara Sookkapat

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A new lady teacher (ครูคนใหม่) called Sawai (Jintara Sookkapat) is arriving in a remote school (ตำบลเล็กๆ) in northern Thailand. Veteran actor Settha Sirachaya is the school director (ครูใหญ่). Kampaeng (Santisuk Promsiri) doctor is an old friend (เพื่อนที่ดีตลอดไป) also working in the area. Sawai gives strong lessons to pupils not following school rules (มันเกินไป). Strong warnings are given against cigarette and alcohol. Wai puts to herself some strict rules to be a model for pupils. Kampaeng understands it will be almost impossible to have a romantic relationship with Wai as she puts her duty first. Kampaeng gets an award to go studying in Germany but he doesn't want to be far from Wai. He finally leaves convinced by Wai. Many years have passed. Wai is still single. Teacher Wai gets called evil (ใจร้าย) but parents don't dare to tell her as they are all former pupils of teacher Wai. Wai starts to realise what people think about her. Teacher Wai has often back pain recently. She has to go urgently to hospital. Many people around teacher Wai promise to change their behavior and wish Wai to recover fast. They all finally realize that behind her severity, teacher Wai is working hard to build good people. Teacher Wai finally comes back and is welcomed in the village by a huge number of students and parents. This movie highlights dedication of some hardworking teachers going in some remote areas to spread knowledge, Buddhist basis and putting school values even before their private life. Movie ครูไหวใจร้าย was shot in 1989 and includes famous stars Santisuk Promsiri and Jintara Sookkapat. Veteran comic Kiet Kijcharouen, always present in "BOONCHU" (บุญชู) movies serie and "BAAN PHI POP" (บ้านผีปอบ) movies serie, is also present.

คนแซ่ลี้
คนแซ่ลี้

Year: 1993

Thai title: คนแซ่ลี้
English title: Immigration service

Rating: 3/5
Director:

Main actor: Kriengkrai Unhanan
Main actress:

Jack refuses to be a scapegoat and to be involved in a big corruption scheme managed by his boss. As a killer is trying to get rid of him, he has to flee in Switzerland. There he meets another Thai man, who has fled for similar issue. They wish to fight against the corrupted Thai society but there are too many people in the system and the numbers keep increasing. They alone cannot possibly change anything when the majority still sticks to the old system. A hitman finds Jack back in Switzerland. A young woman, who in fact Jack's boss daughter, is helping him. Is she truly helping Jack or protecting her father? This movie grabs 10 awards.

กำแพง
กำแพง

Year: 1999

Thai title: กำแพง
English title: The Wall

Rating: 4/5
Director:

Main actor: Phairoj Jaising
Main actress:

A rich young boy is fond of a girl living in a slum. The boy's father, who is deputy, has decided to expropriate the slum inhabitants in order to build an estate. The young boy decides to help the inhabitants to build a wall around the slum. Their love story is endangered by the slum inhabitants, who doubt about the young boy sincerity, and his father, who doesn't accept a poor bride and doesn't hesitate to destroy the slum by fire. Shall their love overcome all these obstacles?

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.



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