The General’s Secret (HD / color / 100min / Thailand)
Pimpaka Towira is acknowledged as the first female Thai director to gain international recognition, both from viewers and critics. Since 1988 she has made a number of experimental short films, mostly exploring women’s issues, including Mae Nak (1997), a deconstruction of the popular Thai ghost story ‘Mae Nak Phra Kanong’, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Japanese Image Forum Festival in 1998.
Her debut feature, One Night Husband (2003), an ambitious attempt to combine an experimental style with an accessible narrative, premiered at the International Forum of New Cinema at the Berlin International Film Festival 2003, and competed in Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents in the same year. Her latest film The Island Funeral (2015) won the Best Asian Future Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2015, a FIPRESCI Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival 2016 and Best Cinematography at the Shanghai International Film Festival 2016.
Donsaron Kovitvanitcha does many jobs on Thailand’s independent film scene, working as a film writer, critic, and journalist for many magazines and newspapers in Thailand, such as The Nation and FILMAX.
He also works as an independent film producer, focusing on films by new and talented Thai film directors, and producing such titles as The Master (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2014), selected as part of the Asian Project Market 2014 and screened at Busan International Film Festival 2015, and The Blue Hour (Anucha Boonyawatana, 2015), screened in the Panorama at Berlin International Film Festival 2015. Also in 2015, he became a general manager of Mosquito Films Distribution, a film distribution company founded by Thai independent filmmakers.
Rian is a young journalist whose mother suffers from chronic back pain. One day, her mother’s condition improves noticeably, after receiving homeopathic massage therapy from an elderly masseuse, known as ‘Auntie’. Rian does not believe in this kind of treatment, but her mother feels otherwise, and Rian decides to prove a point by making an appointment herself for a massage with Auntie. Auntie’s technique is incredibly painful, but the agony soon disappears as Auntie starts to tell stories during the massage. Auntie’s colorful life-story emerges, a puzzle of imagery, of a young country girl turned a massage therapy student, finally ending up as a masseuse for a particular general; an important figure in Thailand’s political history. Rian is shocked and scared as Auntie whispers to her the general’s secret.
Several weeks later, her mother tells her that Auntie has mysteriously disappeared. Rian realizes that several of Auntie’s clients are feeling anxious over her disappearance. She decides to help by listening to the various stories that Auntie told each person, and trying to piece together the bigger picture; a truthful picture, one that is no longer illusion.