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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.

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