Inspired by the life of Luang Pradit Pairoh, better known as Sorn, one of the most respectable music master during the reign of King Chulalongkorn. The Overture is a Thai musical drama that brings the spirit of traditional music into life from its golden age through its crisis point.
Sorn comes from a family of musicians. His elder brother, a master of ranad-ek (Thai xylophone), is tragically murdered for his talent. After the incident, Sorn’s father refuse to let him follow in his brother’s footstep. Despite of that, young Sorn continues to practice secretly in an old temple with the help of his good buddy, Tew. Eventually his father listens to a monk’s advice and allows him to play the instrument. As Sorn grow up, he is aware of his gift and becomes arrogant. Until one day, he meets Khun In who outplays him in a “music duel”. Feeling defeated and humbled, he determines to improve his skill. All his effort pays off when his is chosen by a local nobleman to play in the palace. As his final test, he once again comes face to face with Khun In but this time he shows himself as the superior player. The movie would have ended there if it wasn’t for the war. The governement tries to push Thai people into the modern era and orders traditional instruments to be banned. Sorn, who has become the great master of ranad-ek, encounters his biggest struggle and the fate of Thai traditional music lies in his hand.
I’ve written a pretty long synopsis (by my standard) because I think most of you wouldn’t be watching the movie. It’s pretty hard to find the movie here which is always the case for most Southeast Asian movies. However, this movie deserves a decent exposure. As I know, the movie received a poor reception during the first week of its showing in Thailand and through word of mouth it grew in popularity and became the biggest movie in 2004. I’m not a Thai but I think every Thai should watch it. The movie is a represenatation of Thai rich culture and heritage. Although it is set almost a thousand years ago, the messages is still pertinent today. It tells us to not abandon our roots as we march into the new era. Our culture tells so much about how far we’ve come from. Nowadays people often take our traditions for granted, we forget the story behind it and the struggle our ancestors went thorugh to keep it alive. This film infuses a great sense of belonging in an exquisite way. It’s a perfect choice for the Asian Movie Week.
If you’re feeling Asian, please watch this. Don’t let such beautiful music fades away unnoticed.
Mel says: 8.2/10
P.S: If you don’t know where to find the movie, ask me. =)