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Year: 2004

Thai title: ทวิภพ
English title: The Siam renaissance

Rating: 5/5
Director: Surapong Pinijkhar

Main actor: Nirut Sirijanya
Main actress: Florence Faivre

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Thai movie ทวิภพ / The Siam Renaissance was released in year 2004 and lasts 1h57mn. It was released under VCD and DVD format. It was the first movie for Thai French actress Florence Faivre. Movie director is Surapong Pinijkhar. The movie is featuring enthralling music and features beautiful image shooting to depict the past. It took Surapong Pinijkhar one year to make this movie. The director Surapong Pinijkhar was then sick for many years due to a blood vessel issue in the brain and was half paralyzed. The movie takes place in Rama IV period despite the real story happening in Rama V period. This version is more elaborated on historical details than the previous versions. The 1990 version was shot by famous director Cherd Songsri. It has also be adapted for TV CH7 in 1994 (with Saranyu Wongkrachang) and 2011 as a Thai TV serie (ละคร). It was also adapted as a Musical and a cartoon. One of the highlights of the movie is the true statement that Thai modern people read only six lines a year! The movie had a high budget but was not a commercial success. This movie is part of the first 25 films heritage list announced on October 4, 2011, which is Thai Movies Conservation Day. Thai lady Manee (Florence Faivre) is a Paris-based archive specialist. A mysterious French old work 'The Voyageur', written by French author Francois-Xavier is brought to her for interpretation at the Thai consulate in Paris. Manee is agitated by the record's allusions to Siam's past. Her father is a famous professor. She never got real love from her parents, who were always busy. They are divorced. Her father (Nirut Sirijanya) believes ‘The Voyageur’ is just a tale (นิยาย) as it contains many inaccuracies. When she returns to Thailand, she finds herself going back and forth in time between the present day and the time of Siam's exploitation by French and British colonialists. It starts in 1855. Manee finds herself in Doctor Bradley’s home, who is the former resident in her own home! Thai people are puzzled by Manee as she can read, write and speak French and English. She meets Francois- Xavier, a French writer. She explains the future to some Thai people, but they doubt and even think she is playing a double game as a spy. The British ambassador is coming to negotiate a commercial treaty with Siam. The trade treaty is unfair but Manee argues it is better to accept instead of providing good reason for Britain to invade Siam. Siam's secret weapon is a library as only knowledge increase will help Siam to compete with Western powers. Manee learns much about her country's history (Thai Longitude 0 was in Bangkok at Wat Phra Kaew and set up by King Mongkut) and becomes a fighter alongside her ancestors. She finds valuable lessons in life and love along the way with soldier Thep. Manee wishes to help her fellow Thai friends against greedy French colonialism. Thailand is used as a buffer between English and French possessions. It is seen this way by England but France forces Siam to abandon some of their own possessions such as the Khmer kingdom by threatening using gunships. French consul sees Thai people as barbarians and has no respect for their traditions. Sometimes changes are good and needed. Manee is upset that mistakes in the past cannot be changed such as the failed love between her parents but people tried their best. By knowing the future, she finally influences the past. She prevents Siam from falling to France. 38 years have passed. Thailand is defeated at Paknam by French gunships (14 July 1893 Paknam incident). Siam loses east of Mekong riverbanks. Siam has to pay a huge fee despite French only losing three men versus Siam who lost many lives including Thep. Siam kept its integrity despite losing big parts of territory and Manee has lost her love. Manee has stayed in the past and her father is aware of it as he saw some pictures of Manee and Thep together. Some movies deleted scenes are also available. In one scene, Manee meets Anna Leonowens, an English schoolteacher in Siam, who became the teacher of King Mongkut's children and wives. In another scene, Anna Leonowens brings Manee to see the King’s harem.

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