Kunpan * Tanit Jitnokul * 2002

According to the back of the box this is the Tai reaction to “Gladiator” and the film has “massive battle scenes”, but that was not the reason for me picking it out. Also I doubt that people who like “Gladiator” will automatically like this film. It is far too strange! The film is about a young man whose father was executed after failing to bring an order of the king to a proper end. The boy gets an aduction and follows his father as a leader in the army. He is ordered to knock down a rebelion, succeeds and gets all the glory. Before, he had married a beautiful girl, but a rival marries her in the time that he is away. Coming back, the frustrated Kaew (who has received the name “Kunpan” for his deeds) looses his mind over this fact and turns to black magic. This eventually helps him to become a good man again.

The film is largely a drama where two lovers can’t reach eachother, later do, but loose eachother again. Then jalousy and revenge arise. Here and there there are indeed battle-scenes showing the great leadership of Kaew and his father and at the end Kaew’s son, but don’t hire this film for these few short scenes alone! Then there are very strange and sometimes dark scenes about rituals and magical actions and you get to see how magic was used in battles.

A strange mix of different genres, not totally convincing, but surely not disapointing. Spoken in Tai by the way.

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