The Overture

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The Overture
Theovertureposter1.jpg
The Thai film poster.
Directed by Ittisoontorn Vichailak
Produced by Ittisoontorn Vichailak
Chatrichalerm Yukol
Nonzee Nimibutr
Duangkamol Limcharoen
Pisamai Laodara
Written by Peerasak Saksiri
Dolkamol Sattatip
Ittisoontorn Vichailak
Starring Anuchit Sapanpong
Adul Dulyarat
Narongrit Tosa-nga
Somlek Sakdikul
Music by Chatchai Pongprapaphan[1]
Cinematography Nattawut Kittikhun
Edited by Ittisoontorn Vichailak
Distributed by Sahamongkol Film International
Release dates
  • February 6, 2004 (2004-02-06) (Thailand)
Running time 104 min.
Country Thailand
Language Thai

The Overture (Thai: โหมโรง or Hom rong) is a 2004 Thai musical-drama film. A fictionalised account based on the life story of Thai palace musician Luang Pradit Phairoh (Sorn Silapabanleng), it follows the life of a Thai classical musician from the late 19th century to the 1940s. The film was the winner of several awards in Thailand and was the country's official selection for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It was directed by Ittisoontorn Vichailak and producers included Nonzee Nimibutr and Chatrichalerm Yukol. The film was also credited with a revival in the popularity of piphat – Thai classical music.

Plot[edit]

Starting out in the 1940s, the story finds the elder Sorn bed-ridden. To an old friend, he recalls his childhood growing up in 1880s Siam, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn and the action flashes back to that time.

Sorn's brother was a gifted classical musician, so gifted in fact that it caused a rivalry with other musicians that ended in Sorn's brother's death. Because of that, Sorn's father bars the boy from taking up the ranad-ek (Thai xylophone). However, Sorn, who has shown a talent for the instrument since an early age, defies his father and sneaks off to practice playing in an abandoned temple in the jungle.

Eventually, he becomes so skilled at the instrument that his father lets him play after he speaks to a monk who advises him that he should not deny him the right to play ranad-ek. Sorn excels in his studies to the point where he is noticed by other bands. They ask for his presence to complete. He becomes arrogant and misses practice telling his father that his faith isn't misplaced. His father teaches his place by putting him on the Kong-wong. At the competition, the competitor scares his uncle (the substitute on ranad-ek) and becomes clear that the competitor has superior skill. As their playing, the judge realises that Sorn isn't playing on the ranad-ek and calls the teacher out on the fact that if they have a good player, might as well bring out the good material because then you can lose with dignity. The band starts over and plays the same song, but it is obvious that Sorn is skilled. He wins every competition as a boy. So One day, in a local village, Sorn and his ensemble are set up to perform in a courtyard. Across the courtyard is another ensemble, led by a fierce-looking bearded ranad-ek player dressed in black. As the rival player starts to perform, a storm whips up adding to the ominous mood of the setting. Sorn is disturbed by his fiery ability to play and wants to learn like him.

But Sorn's talent does not go unnoticed and he is soon chosen to play for a local nobleman and is sent to the palace for more formal music training. There he meets an older man that he thinks is a palace caretaker, or some type of lowly person that does not know about music. However, later, when Sorn is to meet his new teacher, Master Tian, it is revealed to be the old man he met earlier. Tian turns out to be a strict teacher and instructs Sorn on all the instruments of the Thai classical music ensemble. At one point, Sorn is punished for being too flashy a player and is made to relinquish the ranad-ek to an inferior player, much to the dismay of other members in his ensemble, as well as a high palace official watching the performance.

So when it comes time for the kingdom's musical competition, it is Sorn who is again the lead player. However, Sorn must overcome his fear at the competition, because he must again face the fierce, bearded ranad-ek performer.

The story flashes back forward to the 1940s again, showing Sorn as a respected teacher. One day Sorn's son has a piano moved into his father's studio. The expectation is that his father will be furious at having a newfangled Western instrument brought into his house. But instead of being mad, he instructs his son to play a tune on the piano. The elder Sorn then takes up his ranad-ek mallets and improvises with his son, blending Thai and Western music.

This is during the rule of the dictator, Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram, whose government called for the accelerated modernisation of Thailand. As a result, performances of traditional Thai music, dance and theatre were frowned upon. In Sorn's neighbourhood, the orders are enforced by Lieutenant-Colonel Veera.

Sorn teaches the Lieutenant a nation can only withstand outside forces if their nation is strong. For that to happen, they must believe in themselves. No matter what, they must protect their heritage and honor it regardless of what they are to become. Sorn plays not only to defy the rules, but to teach a lesson about culture and heritage.

Cast[edit]

  • Anuchyd Sapanphong as younger Sorn
  • Adul Dulyarat as elderly Sorn
  • Pongpat Wachirabunjong as Lt Col Veera
  • Narongrit Tosa-nga as Khun In
  • Phoovarit Phumpuang as Terd
  • Somlek Sakdikul as Master Tian

Reception[edit]

After a poor showing at the box office on opening weekend, The Overture was pulled from many theaters. However, after word of mouth spread and discussions flourished on Internet forums such as Pantip.com, the film was brought back and become a sensation that won numerous awards and sparked renewed interest in Thai classical music. Captivated by the film's nationalistic, historical and cultural themes, the film was embraced by Royal Family and the Thai government, which used it as a promotional tool. It was one of the most popular Thai films of 2004.[2][3]

Awards[edit]

In addition to being named as Thailand's official selection for Best Foreign Language Film for the 77th Academy Awards, The Overture collected dozens of awards in Thailand. They include:

  • 2004 Thailand National Film Association Awards
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Supporting Actor (Adul Dulyarat)
    • Best Cinematography (Nattawut Kittikhun)
    • Best Editing (Ittisoontorn Vichailak)
    • Best Screenplay (Peerasak Saksiri, Ittisoontorn Vichailak, Dolkamol Sattatip)
    • Best Sound
  • 2004 Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Supporting Actor (Pongpat Wachirabanjong)
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Music
  • 2004 Star Entertainment Award
    • Best Picture
    • Best Director
    • Best Supporting Actor (Adul Dulyarat)
    • Best Film Editing
    • Best Screenplay
    • Best Sound Recording
    • Best Music

Film festivals[edit]

The Overture was screened at many film festivals in 2004 and 2005. They include:

Soundtrack[edit]

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Overture
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 2004
Recorded 2003
Apollo Lab
Sri Siam Studio
Bangkok
Genre Thai classical
Length 32:20
Label Gimmick Films
Cinemasia
Promittr Production
Sahamongkol Film International
Producer Ittisoontorn Vichailak

The original score was composed by Chatchai Pongprapaphan, with Thai classical music performed by Chaibhuk Bhutrachinda, the Korphai Ensemble and Narongrit Tosa-nga.[1]

Narongrit, who portrayed Khun-In in the film, is a professional musician and a gifted player of the ranad-ek (Thai xylophone) and actually performed his own ranad-ek parts in the film.[5]

The Overture won Best Music at the Star Entertainment Awards 2004[6] and Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards.[7]

A soundtrack album was jointly released in 2004 by Gimmick Film, Cinemasia, Prommitr Production and Sahamongkol Film International, but has since gone out of print.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Assajun" ("อัศจรรย์", or "Miracle", composed by Petch Marr and Pijika) – 4:40
  2. "Kaek bor-ra-tes" ("แขกบรเทศ") – 0:53
  3. "Ton worrachet" ("ต้นวรเชษฐ์") – 1:35
  4. "Kum warn" ("คำหวาน") – 1:34
  5. "Kra-tai ten" ("กระต่ายเต้น") – 1:18
  6. "Lao duang duen" ("ลาวดวงเดือน") – 1:10
  7. "Hom rong pra-derm chai" ("โหมโรงประเดิมชัย") – 1:39
  8. "Hom rong um-ma-baht" ("โหมโรงอัฐมบาท") – 1:37
  9. "Hom rong chor paka" ("โหมโรงช่อผกา") – 1:22
  10. "Home rong jeen dok mai" ("โหมโรงจีนดอกไม้") – 1:55
  11. "Saen kum-nueng" ("แสนคำนึง") – 3:11
    • Tracks 2-11 traditional Thai music performed by Chaibhuk Bhutrachinda, Korphai and Narongrit Tosa-nga[1]
  12. "Raek phob" ("แรกพบ") – 2:12
  13. "Terd toh" ("เติบโต") – 2:38
  14. "Berk barn" ("เบิกบาน") – 0:50
  15. "Sum nuek" ("สำนึก") – 1:10
  16. "Chai-cha-na" ("ชัยชนะ") – 2:10
  17. "Kwam wung" ("ความหวัง") – 2:23
    • Tracks 12-17 are cues from the original score by Chatchai Pongrapaphan[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Overture, liner notes
  2. ^ Chaiworaporn, Anchalee. 2004. "The Overture (Hom rong)", ThaiCinema.org (retrieved August 23, 2006)
  3. ^ March 22, 2004. "The reel scoop", The Nation (retrieved August 23, 2006)
  4. ^ The Overture profile at the Seattle International Film Festival
  5. ^ April 22, 2004. Thai classical music crossroads, Rotten Tomatoes journal posting, references Bangkok Post story (retrieved August 23, 2006).
  6. ^ Star Entertainment Awards 2004 at sanook.com (Thai)
  7. ^ [1] (Thai)

External links[edit]