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(Tongpan)

Tongpan is a black and white theatrical film. It is based on the real-life experience of a farmer from the poverty stricken Northeast region of Thailand. Tongpan and his family were forced off their land when a dam built nearby caused their farm to be flooded in the wet season and left it parched in the dry.

They have moved to a small town bordering Laos on the Mekong River. There, Tongpan the farmer is struggling to support his family as Tongpan the pedicab driver, Tongpan the small time boxer, and Tongpan the keeper of someone else's chickens.

"Tongpan is the best fictional movie on Southeast Asia I have ever seen. It portrays vividly the political and cultural gap between peasant realities and the good intentions of the liberal intelligentsia, and catches the illusion of Thailand's experiment with democracy."

- Ben Anderson, Professor Cornell University

"Filmed in the direct manner of the early Soviet silent cinema, the reconstruction of this simple incident has a quiet unexpected force... one of the most impressive films of Edinburgh Festival's first week."

- David Robinson, The Times of London

"...One of the most important 'Third World'
films of the decade."

- Tony Rayns, British Film Institute

"A landmark film...the first film I know of which relies on native Southeast Asian artists for script writing, directing and acting while also providing great interest for American viewers...The American viewer who has lived in Southeast Asia will view it and weep."

Jay Henderson, Washington Review

"Tongpan is a beautifully made film and extraordinarily effective and valuable as a teaching device. I would give it my most enthusiastic recommendation for use in courses dealing with problems of development.
It is the best film of its kind."

- Franklin Weinstein Director
Project on US-Japan Relations, Stanford University

Running Time: 60 Minutes
In Thai & Lao with English Subtitles