This is the story of Anna Leonowens, the English schoolteacher who came to Siam in the 1860s to teach the children of King Mongkut. She becomes involved in his affairs, from the tragic plight of a young concubine to trying to forge an alliance with Britain to a war with Burma that is orchestrated by Britain. In the meantime, a subtle romance develops between them. Written by
The name given to the wealthy father of Tuptim is actually the name of a famous Thai political scientist. Thak Chaloemtiarana currently directs the Southeast Asia Studies Program at Cornell University. See more »
After the fight between Prince Chulalongkorn and Louis, King Mongkut goes and investigates the reason for the fight; he sees Louis writing lines and his son just standing there. Chulalongkorn is on Anna's right while Louis is on her left. Later, when Louis is finished writing his lines he is on her right and the prince is on her left. See more »
She was the first English woman I had ever met. And it seemed to me she knew more about the world than anyone. But it was a world Siam was afraid would consume them. The monsoon winds had whispered her arrival like a coming storm. Some welcomed the rain, but others feared a raging flood. Still she came, unaware of the suspicion that preceded her. But it wasn't until years later, that I began to appreciate how brave she was, and how alone she must have felt. An English woman. The ...
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I love when the movie is attacked for its epistemology. Look, this is not 2001, and cultural elements in everyone's country, including this insane asylum, will not always please indigenous peoples who want to be in the dark and idealize their societies. Believe me, I am plenty embarrassed Pacific Rim is going out to other people as representative of Americans. The movie features Foster giving one of her best readings with great range and depth. Fat, always an underrated treasure, shines here quite brightly. He, unlike Brynner's brainless version, that was insulting to Siamese, Fat conveys intelligence, morality and emotional depth. When people lampoon the movie as a mindless romance, which it is not, except at a great distance, I point out they will see two great performances by two veteran greats at the peak of their powers. I should also point out that, unlike the lobotomized musical, here the faults of both cultures are on view. The English are not spared from being portrayed as Kippling's disciples utterly convinced of their innate superiority to all other life forms on the planet. The English are delineated as arrogant beyond belief, pretentious, effete, ornate peacocks.
When ethnic people attack the movie, I again point out, yes, there are the elements of your societies you may not be proud of but the English get the same treatment. Anna and The King learn much from each other while trying to retain their pride in their respective cultures. The movie moves well, it is always interesting, with the Tuptin tragedy presented very powerfully. Again, who is presented as causing this disaster? The King and the Siamese people? No, he was about to pardon both of them till Anna took it upon herself to interfere; this is why she does what she did best run away. As the King cuts her to the quick by pointing out her hypocrisy in telling him to go on with life when her whole being in the world is existential flight from the agony of her husband's death. She does the same thing; she is aware she caused their deaths, though blaming the King, and starts to run away again.
When she learns of the danger the King and his children are in she comes to help him. As you see them dance, it becomes clear each has learned greatly from the other. As disparate as they were, she becomes a little Siamese and he a little English. The film models taking what is good from wherever you find it and shedding your indigenous training that often has much error in it, as do all things of man. The two greats together will draw you into their world will you will stay until the movie ends. This is the mark of all great films and performers. Do you lose yourself in the movie? Are you transported to another place and time? It reminds me of the very different Sand Pebbles which it equals in bringing you into the movie. As a side note, it also models real love; the willingness to give your life in protection of those you hold dear. A complete anomaly here, in this decadent love in, I cannot tell you what a joy it is and what a rarity. No positive energy or thinking happy thoughts; just real willing to die for you love. A Very Noble And Underrated Movie.
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