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OK, Festive Fans, pour yourselves a Mai Thai and get ready for the last episode of our first season!  We are heading east – Far East – to Thailand, a captivating land of beaches, palaces, ruins, and temples.  It’s the perfect ending for a final holiday outing to shake our Christmas booties with the Buddhists and elephants.

First, we review the film Rak haeng Siam or The Love of Siam.   The portrayal of life in the film is very realistic:  family dynamics, confusing emotions, and the painful truth that you don’t always get what you want.  It is a multi-layered drama that deals with loneliness, longing, pain, tragedy, alcoholism, peer pressure, success, sexual awakenings, and family responsibilities, all in one film.  Merry Christmas!  No wonder the film is so long.

And yet, there is nothing more poignant than when Mew finally receives the last piece of Tong’s gift, completing the wooden Santa.  It accurately captures all of their pent-up emotions without dialogue — the memories they made together, the love they share, and the reality that they can’t be together.  If there is a lesson here, it is about societal separation, and coping with being apart from ones you truly love.  Not cheerful or merry, but honest and emotional, which is what the holidays are all about.

We also discuss the open way that Buddhists accept the Christmas celebration and the teachings of Jesus.  It is uplifting and spiritual how Thai culture shines through in their local approach to the holiday.  Many Thai will celebrate Christmas, but will also incorporate Buddhist traditions as well.  We all share the core beliefs of togetherness, love, generosity, and care for others that are on display at Christmas.  We can’t  think of a better common message of brotherhood and community on which to end our first season.   Optimum est alius nondum venit (the best is yet to come)!

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Listen to this episode of Festive Foreign Film Fans podcast
Author: Bob & Mark

Episode 24: Rak haeng Siam or “The Love of Siam” (Thailand)


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