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Inspired by the life of maestro Luang Pradith Phairao, the storied master of the ranard-ek - Thailand's traditional wooden xylophone. The Overture is a boldly conceived, stunningly beautiful story bursting with color, energy and music. Sorn, a spectacularly gifted musical prodigy, longs to compete in the ecstatic musical competitions pitting Thailand's late 19th century ranard-ek players against one another. But when rival musicians murder his older brother, SornÞs family forbids the young performer from ever playing again. Beseeching his parents to let him carry on for his fallen brother while surreptitiously studying on his own, Sorn fights to balance his all-consuming need to win with his responsibility to the traditions and loyalties he has promised to uphold. The Overture deftly braids parallel narratives, documenting Sorn's musical rebirth and coming of age in turn of the century Siam with his adult struggle against the Thai government's ban of the art he masters in post-WWII Bangkok. Though decades apart, Young Sorn's reckless ambition and Old SornÞs courageous resistance seamlessly combine into a single life in which arrogant youth becomes defiant maturity, and into a cinematic journey. Director Itthisoontorn Vichailak is bringing the cut-throat competition and seething ambitions behind the golden age of ThailandÞs native music traditions to vivid life. Dynamic, sentimental, heroic, earthy, triumphant, brawling and lyrical, The Overture is a victoriously entertaining saga and a passionate historical biography as exotic, engaging and nimbly performed as the music that drives it.


Studio Kino Video
SKU 202139507
UPC 738329043728
UPC 14 00738329043728
Format DVD
Release Date 3/7/2006
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
Name Saphanphong,Anuchit
Link Search Link
Cast & Crew
Adul Dulyarat - Actor
Anuchit Sapanpong - Actor
Dolkamol Sattatip - Writer
Itthisunthorn Wichailak - Writer
Itthisunthorn Wichailak - Editor
Itthisunthorn Wichailak - Director
Nattawut Kittikhun - Cinematographer
Nick Chaiyapak - Original Music By
Nonzee Nimibutr - Executive Producer
Peerasak Saksiri - Writer
Phoovarit Phumpuang - Actor
Pisamai Laodara - Producer
Sumeth Ong-ard - Actor
ReviewSource DVD Talk
Review The past decade has seen something of a renaissance in Asian cinema. Whereas in years past we in America might have heard of Akira Kurosawa, Zhang Yimou, or one or two prominent directors, by and large few other movies of interest from the region made their way to our shores. Lately, however, we've had an explosion of notable films from China, Japan, and Korea. Thailand hasn't made much of an impression so far, but is slowly entering the fray. The silly Tony Jaa martial arts movie Ong Bak made a splash recently, and Francis Coppola has been championing a historical epic called The Legend of Suriyothai. Now a local award winner from 2004 titled The Overture comes to DVD with hopes of winning over Western audiences. The film tells the true story of Sorn Silapabanleng, one of the most revered of traditional Thai musicians. Raised in poverty, as an infant Sorn was drawn to a xylophone-like instrument called the ranad, and soon developed into a child prodigy. During his teenage years he rose to prominence as a star in the old government's royal orchestra, establishing his lifelong reputation, until his later years when a new regime brought in with it censorship and intolerance, attempting to sweep away anything old or "uncivilized". The defiant Sorn then stood as a symbol for the values of tradition and cultural preservation. Had it been made in the United States, a film like The Overture would be classified as typical awards bait. Handsomely produced and filled with a sense of self-importance, the movie rigidly follows a standard musical biography formula, in which the hero must rise above his humble origins, overcome limitations in his own character, stand tall against seemingly invincible opposition, and eventually become a legend. It's the Thai equivalent of Amadeus, or Ray, or Walk the Line, or a dozen other movies we've all seen before. True story or not, this genre is incredibly well-trodden, only the details varying from one film to the next, and The Overture doesn't offer much in the way of innovation. What is most interesting about the movie is its exploration of a musical style rarely heard or understood in the West. The xylophone may not be a much respected instrument in Western music, its use more of a gimmick and usually relegated to the background of larger ensembles, but in Thailand the ranad is the centerpiece of their traditional music. The Overture makes a case that its seemingly simple design requires extraordinary precision, control, and talent to coax out the most intricate melodies. The picture also has a fascinating scene where the introduction of a Western piano, a mechanism so much more complicated than the ranad, might be perceived as an intrusive threat, until Sorn instinctively finds a way to use the two instruments in tandem, blending their melodies and two vastly different cultures into a harmonious union. The Overture certainly does not break much new ground in its genre, but is a well-made film that tells a story whose
Reviewer Joshua Zyber
ReviewRating 6
DVD, Letterbox, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1, English, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Saphanphong,Anuchit
Label Kino International
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Renata Poly, Pacific Sun The genuine sweetness of the actor portraying sorn as a young man reflects the sweetness of the entire film.
Variety ...skillfully creates emotional depth...
San Francisco Bay Guardian ...lenses both city and country scenes with lush depth...

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