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The Overture (2004)
"Hom rong" (original title)

 -  Biography | Drama | Music  -  2004 (Thailand)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 583 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 13 critic

Based on the life of Luang Pradit Pairoh (Sorn Silapabanleng) the most revered traditional Thai music master who lived during the reigns of Kings Rama V to VIII, the movie traces the life ... See full summary »

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Title: The Overture (2004)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anuchit Sapanpong ...
Sorn
Adul Dulyarat ...
Elderly Sorn
Pongpat Wachirabunjong ...
Lieutenant Colonel Veera
Narongrit Tosa-nga ...
Kun In
Phoovarit Phumpuang ...
Terd
Sompob Benjathikul ...
His Royal Highness
Kiat Punpiputt ...
Master Sin
Arratee Tanmahapran ...
Chote (1880s)
Sumeth Ong-ard ...
Prasit
Somlek Sakdikul ...
Master Tian (as Somchai Sakdikul)
Lookpoo Doksedeo ...
Piak
Supaluk Uttamawetin ...
Chote (older)
Aunnop Anawat ...
Tew
Chumphorn Thepphithak ...
Tew
Krit Suwannapaph ...
Second Lieutenant
Edit

Storyline

Based on the life of Luang Pradit Pairoh (Sorn Silapabanleng) the most revered traditional Thai music master who lived during the reigns of Kings Rama V to VIII, the movie traces the life of Sorn, who picked up the ra-nad ek (Thai xylophone) mallets as a small child and played all his life. The backdrop to Sorn's life tale is the story of Thailand's classical music from its golden age during the reign of King Rama V to near extinction after the end of the absolute monarchy when the government banned it as uncivilised in the 1930s -- a time when Field Marshall Plaek Pibulsongkram tried to push the Kingdom into the modern era. The film shifts back and forth from the time when Sorn was a young man, playing in a xylophone duel with the intense Kun In, to the 1940s, when Thailand was under Japanese occupation and Sorn's playing would provide some inspiration to the oppressed citizenry of the time. Written by Wise Kwai

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thailand | musician | See All (2) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2004 (Thailand)  »

Also Known As:

A nyitány  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$825 (USA) (7 October 2005)

Gross:

$2,054 (USA) (21 October 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Narongrit Tosa-Nga, playing the part of Kun-In is a famous ranad-ek player in Thailand. When he and Sorn first meet, the music that Khun-In is playing is actually from a tape recording of Narongrit performing on television when he was eight years old. See more »

Goofs

Although set in the 1930s and 40s, the young people all have modern hairstyles. See more »

Soundtracks

Hom rong pra-derm chai
traditional
performed by Chaibhuk Bhutrachinda, Korphai and Narongrit Tosa-nga
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The 'Amadeus' of Thailand
27 June 2004 | by (Bangkok, Thailand) – See all my reviews

[The 'ranad ek' or 'ranad' is the Thai equivalent to a xylophone.]

Homrong ("The Overture") is a story about Sorn (the 'r' is not pronounced), who is a ranad ek musician that gradually grows from being arrogant and rebellious to becoming refined and dignified, discovering a new style of playing an old instrument.

The story takes place during the 80's and a time a bit earlier, when the monarch of Thailand decided to selectively adopt certain Western concepts and lifestyles. It's one of those movies that shows the character old and dying in the beginning, and then flashes back to when he was young and how he got to where he is. During this time, the music of the ranad, among other classical Thai instruments, becomes suppressed and controlled by the government of Thailand and playing in public becomes illegal. One scene shows a piano being brought into the old music teacher's place and there is a divine duet between the ranad and the piano (this serves as a subtle hint of the incorporation of Western standards and also shows the potential harmony of the East and West ideals.)

One thing I really respected was that the movie didn't overdose on the love factor, I felt that it kept it just right, given the overall tone and the intended effect of the movie.

The movie is, ultimately, about traditional Thai music and the pride that goes along it. I believe that this movie aims to bring about a new respect for the instrumental classical music, which my Thai friends would say, is a dying genre in Thailand. There was this dialogue between the older Sorn and a military official, where Sorn was likening the ethnic roots to the roots of a tree and how it can survive against torrents if it is deeply rooted that I found to be rather profound on many levels.

The movie borrows A lot from other movies (stately "The Legend of 1900"), yet it holds it's own unique charm. The acting is great for Thai standards and the music is ever-so-enchanting. The scenes where they play fast ranad songs are especially encapturing and intense. It follows a lot of basic formulas, and some of the scenes use really cheesy effects (such as the rain that falls when antagonist, Khun-In plays the "musical rebuttal" in Bangkok), yet I would say this movie is definitely worth watching, if not only to catch a glimpse of some of Siam's heritage.

I, definitely, believe that this is an all-round good movie. Worth watching on the big screen and owning on home video. I, for one, want to purchase this opus from Asia when it comes out on DVD, and I strongly recommend any international music-lover and/or ethnically-curious inquirer to look into getting ahold of this movie.

Judging this movie by Thai standards, I give it a 4/5.

----

(By the way: I tried playing the ranad myself a few months back... the instrument is not easy AT ALL! It takes very skilled wrists to play at even an intermediate level.)


17 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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