เบื้องหลัง บางระจัน Bang Rajan behind the scenes


Uploaded by SeeingMole10 on 25.12.2012

Transcript:
We felt that Bang-Rajan should be the one story that we adapted into a movie script.
We believed it would be the film that...
It would be the action film that would have a great impact on our careers.
We wanted to produce an action film with swords.
It's an interesting story and it's historical.
It's a story about village people that fight with professional fighters.
So we thought we could turn it into a good movie. That's why we chose Bang-Rajan.
The main story is about people who have less power
fighting with the people who have...
who are stronger.
We had a good chance to produce a dramatic film
and create outstanding roles - it's like...
People who are inferior but are very single-minded.
They then have more willpower to fight for their victory.
It created a power that the audiences can access to the point that...
They had to choose.
Audiences had to take one side.
It made it easier for us to add in some narratives and make it more interesting,
in terms of the acting or in terms of creating roles which led up to the end of the film.
It's easier than some vague stories and Bang-Rajan answered our questions...
The film must present the point
that people don't depend upon their physical strength,
it's mental attitude that determines the ability to survive.
We found the story of the people who were the heads of the village.
Including... the elder monk Tam-ma-choad who was a monk during the war.
We didn't find much information but for those people,
we had their names with brief profiles.
It was enough for us to be able to use the information to form characters,
as we believed that those people existed in history.
For example, Tong-men, "Gold-Stink", played by Bin Bun-luer-lit.
The word... Tong-men, "Gold-Stink",
his real name is only Tong, "Gold".
But his characteristic... He drank a lot of alcohol.
It made him... He didn't take many showers. So his body smelled bad.
So he was called Tong-men, "Gold-Stink".
It was the name that people in Bang-Rajan called him.
Another example is Kun-Sun, "General Sun",
or Pun-Rueang, "Major Rueang".
The information that we found said that they were the heads of the village.
These were the heads of the Bang-Rajan community.
So we analysed the word "Kun". It might be the military ranking he held in the army.
As a result, he had the authority to govern the small community.
This was where the characters came from.
Although we didn't have information, we had direction.
When we gathered and combined the information,
we knew why the people of Bang-Rajan were able
to fight the enemy eight times in the war.
Because they had community heads
that had the right characteristics to be leaders in war.
No matter what we wrote in the film script or how we shot it, it was still an epic film.
A film on a large scale.
It challenged us that we had never produced a film and tried to make it two hours long.
The challenges were, firstly we had never produced a film that used swords.
Secondly, we had never controlled thousands of people
within the budget that we had.
These were the first few challenges for us.
The next step was how to work the first few challenges out.
So when the film was finished, it had to be on a large scale,
it had to move the audience and...
it had to be a movie that was worth doing.
That was the ultimate goal of the film. These were our challenges.
Moreover, we had never produced a historical film set 300 years ago or before.
In order to create everything in the year 2000 as it was 300 years before...
And audiences must believe us
that everything in the frame was happening 300 years before.
Although we made everything in the present
look as it had 300 years ago, they must believe us.
They must believe that Bin Bun-luer-lit was Tong-men,
who can ride a water buffalo and fight,
handle a pair of hammers and fight.
It had to look realistic.
He was Tong-men from 300 years ago.
Or Winai Graiboot, who had a family and children during the war.
How would he feel, since he was still a young man?
Those challenges influenced us...
I, myself, and the team had to be as determined as the people of Bang-Rajan.
We had to succeed in this project,
even though we didn't have much experience.
Bang-Rajan's story happened when Myanmar's army invaded the capital,
trying to take it to be their colony.
There were two ways to the capital.
On one of the routes, the north route,
the army had to pass a small village called Bang-Rajan.
Passing and seizing this village to be their colony
was difficult, since they had to fight eight times.
The people in this village escaped from other villages and gathered together
and fought the army.
This was because they felt that the military dominated their life.
So they had to get together to fight. The film shows three generations.
The first generation were Tong-men and Jan Nuard-Keaw
who had a wife and children but they lost their families during the war.
They wanted revenge so they tried to gather people.
The next generation was the generation of Inn and E Sa.
It was the generation of young people that started a family, a small family.
Through these characters, the film showed that
if you had children during wartime, you could see how much you would suffer.
Through Mr Inn's character, it showed
that he wanted to end the war as soon as possible.
But something happened.
Then the third generation was the generation of young people
who were in love during the war.
Their love couldn't be nourished if the war were not ended quickly.
But when the film presented all three generations together in this war,
at the end, no one fulfilled their ambitions
because the history affirmed that all Bang-Rajan's people died.
They dared to die in this war.
We showed that wars are not creative and there is no mercy in wars
no matter what generation you are in.
First, we needed to choose actors that had the physical and facial appearance,
such that audiences would believe that they were people from 300 years ago.
However, we didn't underestimate the importance of the acting part.
We did workshops with all the actors and actresses.
We asked them to walk, sleep, eat and survive like people 300 years ago.
So, apart from teaching them acting, there was one period of time
when we took them to the real location, the place where the scenes were set.
It had the atmosphere and all the aspects of the way of life of the people of Bang-Rajan.
All the actors had to eat and sleep in that place, like the people in the past.
First, we didn't provide spoons, so they had to eat their food with their hands.
We didn't have shower rooms, so they had to go to the river near the location.
They were not allowed to use modern devices that we have nowadays.
They were not allowed to wear a wristwatch or use mobile phones.
At the same time, they had to have their hair cut
and wear clothes like people did 300 years ago.
They were not allowed to speak in modern language.
We tried to make the actors not walk like models.
They had to eat, speak... The way they thought or the way they lived...
How to live with lots of other people.
In order to make the actors learn how to live with many others,
I took approximately 60 actors to stay in the village.
So they learnt how to run the village.
They had watchmen. They had to manage a watch system.
So when they were in the workshop,
the watchman had to carry a torch and act like a real watchman.
People who slept had to sleep without pillows or mattresses.
They had to sleep on wooden floors.
We tried to make them believe that they were people 300 years ago.
Talking about practising fighting, we included in the practices
the fact that the battle might not occur during the day, it could happen at night.
We gave the actors time to warm themselves up
so that they would believe that they were a person in that role.
It was the Bang-Rajan team's homework, so the acting would become more realistic.
Action scenes in Bang-Rajan were created by the film writing and directing team.
We thought that, if we wanted to create action scenes that moved audiences,
the audiences had to feel that they were fighting with the people of Bang-Rajan.
So through the way we directed and shot, we had to feel that it was real.
Therefore, by using the lens to pull the images closer,
we did something similar to the way that a war photographer shoots photos.
Our technique was that we brought the camera to the action scenes
instead of bringing the action scenes towards the audience, which is quite flat.
As a result, audiences who were watching the fighting scenes
felt that they were fighting close to the actors and saw sweat, dust and blood.
So it was terrifying, since we brought the camera close to the action scenes.
Therefore, it made the film look realistic, harsh and brutal.
It was our first priority, since we didn't want to make the war look beautiful.
We didn't want audiences to love the war scenes.
We wanted audiences to feel that when they were in a war,
the war's harshness and brutality were disgusting.
That was a core part of directing the fight scenes in Bang-Rajan.
We had to accept that we were producing a big film with a limited budget.
We couldn't provide 100%% % safety.
But it was our main duty to take out accident insurance for all the actors and the team.
But, we also told all the actors, stuntmen and stand-ins that at the end,
if we watched their acting from the monitor and we didn't believe, they had to act again.
It had to be as realistic as it could be.
We couldn't avoid some accidents that happened every day no matter what.
Eventually, we were satisfied with all the pictures in the scenes that we shot.
The film was big and we wanted to make it look realistic, as much as we could.
So we couldn't avoid some accidents.
The actors and the Bang-Rajan team had to see a doctor every day.
Accidents happened, which was normal.
In order to shoot Bang-Rajan, we told our cameraman and the director of photography
that we didn't have a large budget like a Hollywood film.
We believed that...
25-30 years ago, when Kurosawa shot "Seven Samurai",
the situation was similar to Bang-Rajan.
That is, some cameramen had to be near swords,
they had to wear helmets like motorcyclists in order to protect their heads.
They might be hit by swords.
The second cameraman had to use a wide-angle, a wider view lens.
He tried to push it near the actors as much as he could.
The action scenes were war scenes.
It wasn't like gladiators, one-on-one fighting where you can use only one camera.
We needed to use a wide-angle to capture hundreds of people fighting
while the first cameraman had to practise the action cues.
They had to understand each other well,
so that they knew when the first cameraman, who used a zoom lens,
would pull focus, swing or move to them,
as well as if he wanted to focus on their face or the injured part of their body.
It was very hard work. The cameramen had to take risks as well as the actors.
Although the cameramen didn't handle swords, they had to be near the actors.
At the beginning, they didn't wear helmets and they were injured.
It made them think that they should find helmets to wear
because the director really wanted them to be near the actors as much as possible.
Both Jaran Ngamdee and Winai Graiboot
were responsible for characters that were very dramatic.
We had to direct them to portray feelings in the action and in the emotional scenes,
the feelings of a father who's lost his family,
and the feelings of a man who's going be a father.
Not only had they to portray feelings about winning the battle,
fear of death, using a sword well or fighting well,
but they also had to show that they were human beings, normal village people.
People that lived normal lives. When the tragedy occurred,
they were filled with the need for vengeance.
The actors had to express these feelings.
We didn't want the actors to be just fighters, they had to show these feelings.
Therefore, both of the actors had to do a lot of homework for their dramatic roles.
Both of them were very hard-working.
They could reflect the feelings, as we could see from the monitor.
We could feel the power of their acting.
Therefore, this action film was not an ordinary fighting film.
The role of E Sa was played by Ms Tak Bongkot Kangmalai.
She prepared herself by learning acting, to play the character of E Sa.
She learnt that at the end, everybody in Bang-Rajan had to fight, and died.
We told Ms Bongkot to learn how to swing swords to prepare for her action scenes.
She didn't have to care about how beautiful her swing movements were.
Because, E Sa, 300 years ago, didn't know how to fight.
She just had the heart to fight.
Therefore...
she could swing in the way she wanted to, and it didn't matter who she would slash.
As a result, E Sa in Bang-Rajan looked like an ordinary village woman.
But she had to fight,
as the enemy not only occupied the village but also destroyed lives.
So she had to save her life.
Ms Tak Bongkot's role was not only a woman
who had to cook and look after her husband,
but she played a character who made her husband,
played by Winai Graiboot, worried about her.
Therefore, her acting was also dramatic.
She didn't worry about this point.
Most of the actresses were worried about the action scenes.
It didn't matter that they didn't know how to use swords properly.
But we had to ensure that their acting showed that they were really afraid.
Afraid of killing each other.
We provided an instructor for all four main actors
to show them how to use the weapons.
Winai Graiboot has a masculine appearance,
but he doesn't know archery.
He had to learn how to run with a bow on his back, how to carry and how to use a bow.
If we don't believe that he is an archer, audiences will not believe it either.
So he had to learn.
He had to learn how to use the weapons with the instructor in the workshops.
For example, Tong-men had to learn how to use a pair of hammers in the workshop.
It took him three months to learn.
He had to practise every day in order to convince audiences,
since people in this day and age don't use hammers in their daily lives.
It was normal for actors who have to act in action scenes
in which they had to use weapons such as swords, spears, bows or hammers,
to have to learn.
The instructors not only trained the four main actors
but also another 60 people.
So they got used to and it was believable that they were people 300 years ago,
who used those weapons fighting in a war with a professional army.
There was only one place to shoot Bang-Rajan
and that was in Saraburee province.
Because it is the only province
that has horses, forests and fields
that we can use in the scenes.
For example, the scene at Bang-Rajan camp...
It's mentioned in history that there were ditches or canals around the camp
but we didn't have enough budget to dig a ditch or a canal
so we had to find a real canal that was owned by the local government.
Then we built the camp nearby
by bringing in palm trees, coconut trees, bamboos to the place.
And there it was, Bang-Rajan camp.
We really didn't have enough budget to build a bridge or whatever.
And it had to be a canal that was situated near a military camp
because we needed to use horses from the camp in the scenes.
If we chose a canal that far away, we had to pay delivery charges.
We organised everything that we wanted to be near where we were shooting.
If we wanted horses to be nearby, we had to choose a military camp.
And for the fighting scenes,
we used the area the military use for manoeuvres.
There were some problems as there were...
Craters, things like that.
So the actors had to be careful.
It might not look beautiful
but it fitted the concept that we had set
that Bang-Rajan village had to be in woodland.
But it must have a river as well since it was a village.
In reality, settlements develop near rivers
and areas suitable for cultivation.
Saraburee has everything,
it has woodland, fields, horses and rivers,
so we could shoot our scenes in only one province.
We discussed with the production design team
that we believed it was a real incident 300 years ago.
They had to do a lot of research and homework.
They had to find out why
the Myanmar military couldn't conquer Bang-Rajan in one attempt.
Therefore, we thought that the fortress must look very strong.
And it must be high enough
so that people could see enemies who were far away.
The production design team found that Bang-Rajan camp
was situated in the middle part of the country.
So what kind of the cultivation was there?
The people used palm trees for sugar.
The area had a lot of palm trees, coconut trees and bamboo.
So the trees were cut down to build the camp.
The palm trees would have been big and strong.
It made the camp look formidable.
It looked...
It answered the questions of people living in the camp
who wanted it to look strong.
It was a camp that couldn't be destroyed easily.
The production design team did an outstanding job.
They were able to design the camp so that it looked formidable.
At the same time, information on tools and weapons was also found.
So, then we increased the size so they would look more real,
as people in the past were quite big.
So the size of the weapons was bigger than people have seen before.
We went to the museum and found that the weapons in the past were bigger.
Therefore, we made all the weapons that we had bigger.
So that it was matched with the actors' bodies.
So overall, the art direction was quite believable, including the artillery.
In order to take the artillery up to the fortress,
it was natural theory.
We had to build a ramp in order to push the artillery up to the fortress.
The artillery had wheels like we've seen before.
Like you can see, when they made it up...
When the art direction combined with our control, it was a perfect fit.
When people today see Bang-Rajan,
they should feel how we wanted them to feel -
they should feel that it was a war 300 years ago.
And that it was natural for people to be having wars at that time.
But we wanted to let modern people feel that wars were not a romantic thing.
It shouldn't happen again.
It would be so wonderful for human beings if we could avoid wars.
It was not our main aim to make people attracted to war.
We wouldn't be happy
if people misunderstood our point after we have made it.
However, as a filmmaker,
we have to make the film look real and believable.
If the film looks real, audiences will hate wars.
But we can't do anything
if people wish to admire their ancestors.
We have to accept that we didn't mean to make them feel that way.
The standard length of films in this country...
A film shouldn't last for more than two hours in terms of commercial business.
It was necessary for us to cut some scenes out.
For example, according to history,
the battle was over seven or eight attacks.
But in the final cut of Bang-Rajan, we didn't mention the length of the battle.
When we were doing the final cut,
we thought that the length of the battle was not the main point.
We didn't have to tell the audience that they fought eight times.
It was good that we could present the main theme of the story within two hours.
For commercial reasons, we had to cut out some scenes.
Because Bang-Rajan was not a documentary,
it was commercial art. We had to accept that.
There were many scenes cut, a lot of them with the horses in.
As a filmmaker, I felt very sad.
But it couldn't be helped.
We had to accept that the final cut was the best solution.
And Bang-Rajan was presented in the way that it should be.
The Bang-Rajan that was shown
was the version that I and the producer were satisfied with.
It was perfect and it was the best alternative.
As a filmmaker, we might feel a little sad
about certain scenes or messages that we wanted to convey.
However, at the end it was the best version that we chose to present.
Because I have seen his films a lot,
myself and the rest of the team felt so proud
when Oliver Stone took Bang-Rajan to America.
We believed that it was the first film for us that has gone so far.
We had to thank him and give him credit.
If Bang-Rajan has the opportunity to be shown there,
we believe that it would be an important step for the Thai film industry.
I felt very happy.
It was so exciting and rousing.
Working on this film was very hard and challenging
but also very rewarding.
Everyday that we shot, something could go wrong.
Mostly, we couldn't avoid taking someone to hospital every day.
Once or twice a day. We didn't count.
Don't produce films over a set number a year as it's so heavy going.
But when the film was shown, I was relaxed.
We believed that audiences, after seeing the film, would agree with me.
It was heavy but it was also fun.