Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Hunger, an interesting movie from Thailand

Thai food is my favorite and "Hunger" (2023) had a favorite leading lady, making this film a must see for me.  One strong theme is about the social stratification of Thailand, not all that different from other nations.  Food culture has risen to one of the highest arts getting increased attention in magazines television and other movies.  The masters are revered.  But after all it is basically sustenance.  You can approach this film from different perspectives and you may have to change after the ending.

Before the title is shown we see a very accomplished looking man preparing a food feast for some very rich people.  It is very impressive and eye popping and the reaction of the guests who are mesmerized by the display evokes envy (or disgust).

 The leading character is Aoy a young woman who feels she is stuck in the street restaurant her father set up.  A young man tastes one of her simple dishes and urges her to visit a renown chef.  She decides that might be her ticket to get out of her situation.

Chef Paul is the revered master and you quickly realize he is a perfectionist quite willing to throw things when upset and to fire people who disappoint him.  Later he expresses his philosophy, "What you eat represents your social status. Poor eat to end their hunger."  He wanted to turn the tables on the rich and beg him to make their special dinners.  We learn he came from a poor background with a mother who was a maid to a wealthy family that made her life miserable after he tried to eat some caviar. 

Aoy makes a good impression, but has a lot to learn.  We witness a lot of delicate techniques to make perfect food.

On one high dining invitation, Chef Paul's group is at a hunting expedition.  A rare hornbill bird is shot and Chef Paul handles the carcass for another special decadent meal.  Aoy was upset that this was illegal (and gross) and quits.  

A rich man offered to sponsor Aoy and she ends up in charge of an upscale restaurant.  She is invited to cook for a big do and learns that Chef Paul has also been invited.  Quite a very competitive display.

In the end we are left to evaluate the worth of our food.  It can be a part of our status or a necessary crutch to survive or something in between.  It certainly can be an enjoyable tasting experience as well as a socializing adventure.  Recently I had become conscious of many food experiences that have enhanced my life.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/03/discovering-world-of-flavours-part-one.html

A film like this demands a lot of details handled by experts. Here are some key ones. 

Directed by Sitisiri Mongklosiri.  He has 5 film credits.

Kongdel Jaturanrasamee wrote the script and was a producer.   He is an international award winner with 18 scripts, 10 directed films and 3 acting stints.

Jame Chaibovon Seelookwar composed the music.  He has 3 film credits.

Peter T-hawat Taifayongvic was the cinematograher with 2 film credits.  Also does shorts and ads.

ManussaVorassingha was the editor with 44 credits including "Bad Genius" (2018)

Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, despite her long name is a marketing success story.  "Bad Genius" (2018) got her international recognition that is likely to be boosted by this role.  As the Bad Genius it was thought that she should change from her right handedness to be a left hander as they were thought to be smarter.  In "Hunger" as Aoy she had to learn some fine cooking techniques.  She is popular all over Asia.  Other film credits include "Happy Old Year" (2019, and "Sleepless Society:  Insomnia" (2020).   Check out a blog on one of my favorite heist movies:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/06/bad-genius-out-of-thailand.htm

Gunn Svasti Na Ayudhya plays Tone a boyfriend who helped her get auditioned for Hunger.  He has 4 film credits.

Nopachai Chaitaban plays Chef Paul as a very arrogant boss and perhaps a little too self righteous.  He has 24 film credits.

 Bhumbhat Thawornsiri plays Au, a brother to Aoy.  He has 9 credits in including "Happy Old Year" (2019).

This is a film dealing with social issues.  It is well done.  Available in dubbed format on Netflix.

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