The Overture (Hoam Rong)
This fascinating film, inspired by the life of legendary Thai musician Luang Pradith Phairao, offers interesting twists on the conventional biopic. Sorn (Anuchit Sapanpong), raised in a family of musicians, displays early natural talent and is being groomed to carry on the family tradition. Sorn's instrument is the ranard-ek, the traditional Thai wooden xylophone, played with fluid wrist movements meant to evoke the natural sounds of wind, water and leaves.
The unique and lovely sounds of this instrument form the soul of this film, which follows Sorn's quest to become both a great musician and an inspiration to his people.
Using both meticulous period detail and thrilling musical sequences, Wichailak departs from the conventions of the biopic by making the music itself central to his film. He devotes long sequences to the performances, allowing us to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacies of Thai music. Sorn's life is constructed as a parallel chronology---from his rebellious, arrogant youth to his later years as a foil to the military government's attempts to eradicate "outdated" traditional Thai culture in the '40s and '50s.