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Thailand, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Closing Night)

Director: Prachya Pinkaew

Ong Bak Thailand

'a muscular, no holds-barred action film'-Variety

Move over Jackie Chan and Jet Li, there's a new man in town; his name is Tony Jaa and he's out to inflict some serious damage. Full of hyperkinetic and visually dazzling action sequences played out in the back alleys and seedy clubs of Bangkok, Ong Bak heralds the future of cinematic martial arts and the creation of an international superstar,Tony Jaa.

In a small provincial Thai village, the head of the sacred buddha Ong Bak is stolen, plunging the townsfolk into despair.Young Ting (Jaa) is chosen by the anxious villagers to travel to Bangkok on a recovery mission. For Ting, who was orphaned as a baby and raised by the town's monks, who schooled him in the ways of martial arts, the retrieval of the relic is a matter of pride and necessity.With the well wishes of the villagers ringing in his ears and their money jangling in his pocket,Ting journeys to the capital hell-bent on completing his assignment.When he arrives in the neon glow of the big city he soon realises his task will be more difficult than he imagined. Murderers, thieves and assorted criminals stand in his way, but with the help of a former villager, now mired in gambling debts, and a set of moves that would leave Bruce Lee battered, bruised and exhausted, nothing will stand in Ting's way.

'During previous screenings of this ultimate Thai martial arts action film, audiences almost demolished the cinemas' Tony Jaa flummoxes, overwhelms and leaves you breathless. He flies from left to right across the screen with his limbs in every conceivable and inconceivable position.The Muay Thai martial art has found a perfect ambassador with this film.The fight scenes and authentic stunts are screened beautifully, without trampolines or aids that have to be removed digitally.' -Rotterdam Film Festival

Prachya Pinkaew and Tony Jaa are guests of the Festival.

D Prachya Pinkaew P Prachya Pinkaew, Sukanya Vongsthapat S Prachya Pinkaew, Panna Rittikrai PS Madman Cinema WS Europacorp L Thai w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2003/105mins Prachya Pinkaew's films include: The Magic Shoes (1992), Romantic Blues (1994).

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