Santi-Vina can be seen as the holy grail of Thai cinema. Wanting to propel the standards of the Thai film industry, R.D. Pestonji, the prominent auteur of numerous classics, formed Hanuman Films and took on production and cinematographic duties, alongside director Thavi Na Bangchang, to realize the first film in Thailand shot in 35mm in colour with sound. The film premiered at the 1st edition of the Film Festival in Southeast Asia in Tokyo where it won two awards.
It tells the tragic tale of the love triangle between Santi, a blind boy; Vina, a beauty who loves Santi; and Krai, who vies for Vina’s heart. Subverting usual representations of women, the film harbours a curiously melancholic atmosphere and a seeping sense of resentment within its tale the Buddhist path that leaves it wide open for interpretation.
The screening will include an introduction by Chalida Uabumrungjit from the Thai Film Archive.
- Thavi Na Bangchang is a veteran stage director who also goes by the name “Marut”. He worked on the productions of Prince Bhanubandhu Yugala’s Assavin Karn Lakorn Troupe and Sawas Thikamporn’s Sivarom Troupe. He worked in R.D. Pestonji’s independent film studio Hanuman Films, where he directed Santi-Vina. Little is known of his personal life and a number of his films remain lost.
- R.D. Pestonji
- Robert G. North, Thavi Na Bangchang, Vijit Kunavudhi
- Poonpan Rangkhavorn, Rayvadi Sriwilai
- Thai Film Archive / Sanchai Chotirosseranee - firstname.lastname@example.org