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Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

(En)countering the West and the Making of Thai Identities on Film

Chapter:
(p.93) 4 Mind the Gap
Source:
The Ambiguous Allure of the West
Author(s):
Rachel Harrison
Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789622091214.003.0005

This chapter examines travellers' tales through the ages, from the accounts of the first Siamese diplomatic missions to Europe in the seventeenth century, to the novels inspired by visits to the West by Thailand's twentieth-century novelists. It then describes Thai encounters with the world beyond its borders from the perspective of films either set in the West, or more broadly produced in the space of negotiation between the construction of Thai identities and the acknowledgement of “Otherness.” Focusing on the notion of travel to the West in the Thai popular imagination, the chapter analyzes popular films from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, including romantic melodramas such as Rao sorng (We Two, 1988) and Phiang rao...mi rao (We Have Only Each Other, 1992). These films are the first examples of filming in overseas settings, capitalizing on the cachet of the foreign locale.

Keywords:   travellers, diplomatic missions, Thailand, Thai identities, travel, We Two, overseas settings

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