Noy Thrupkaew

Noy Thrupkaew is a Prospect senior correspondent.

Recent Articles

The Illusion of Escape

In her new documentary Protagonist, Jessica Yu explores the inner lives of four men whose righteous quests led to fanaticism.

Stories that others tell us about ourselves can be seductive in their certainty -- they provide distraction, delicious and damning, from the burden of figuring out our own. Jessica Yu's curious documentary Protagonist is an exploration of extremism, but its stylistic framework provides a more puzzling and provocative question: What is the power of language and narrative in shaping the self?

Bergman's Twilight Room of the Soul

Like the dark spaces between frames on a filmstrip, Ingmar Bergman took us to the unlit gaps in our own emotions.

Legendary Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman is seen in Stockholm, Sweden, in this file photo dated 1957. Bergman died last Sunday. He was 89 years old. (AP Photo / Scanpix, File)

Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. A little twitch in our optic nerve, a shock effect: twenty-four illuminated frames in a second, darkness in between, the optic nerve incapable of registering darkness. At the editing table, when I run the trip of film through, frame by frame, I still feel that dizzy sense of magic of my childhood: in the darkness of the wardrobe, I slowly wind one frame after another, see almost imperceptible changes, wind faster -- a movement.
       
-- Ingmar Bergman, Laterna Magica (1987); The Magic Lantern: An Autobiography as translated by Joan Tate (1988)

Manufacturing Art

A new film about an artist who documents Chinese factories explores the toxic interdependence between developed and developing nations.

Rendered in exquisite calligraphic brushwork and soaring white space, many later-era Chinese landscape paintings depict both the artist's interior terrain and the visible world. Artist Edward Burtynsky's photographs of industrial wastelands work the same way, even though their disturbing beauty inverts the pristine ideal by drawing on mountains of rubble and polluted rivers.

The subject of a new documentary by Jennifer Baichwal, Manufactured Landscapes, Burtynsky takes the art form that graces hotel walls and doctors' offices and gives it bite – the pastoral, poisoned.

Shuttering the Sites

Like its Chinese counterpart, the new military government of Thailand promotes more investment -- and radically less free speech.

As Thai web surfers might tell you, living under a military government is no fun. Since April, Thai Internet users looking to YouTube for their favorite lip-sync performances, stupid-human tricks, or political-protest videos have been getting a real eyeful. Not the glorious heap of trash and treasure that the video-sharing site usually offers, but the "green screen" that the country's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) puts up when it blocks a site. Underneath a large logo of an eye, the Web site reads: "We're sorry, this website is inappropriate … If you have any feedback or wish to report any other inappropriate sites, please click on the eye above."

Pro Con

Oceans Thirteen manages to avoid threequel-itis by conning movie-goers with its charm.

With the preposterous, superfluous, and highly entertaining Ocean's Thirteen, Steven Soderbergh delivers a master-class on the summer sequel -- keep it slick, make fun of yourself, and don't spit in the audience's eye.

Yoo hoo, Sam Raimi? Should have taken some cues from Soderbergh.

Pages