Netflix’s ‘Once Upon a Star’ trailer is a love letter to ’60s Thai cinema

Netflix’s ‘Once Upon a Star’ trailer is a love letter to ’60s Thai cinema

Well, now here’s a trailer that’ll make you want to start a portable outdoor cinema.

Set in the ’70s, Nonzee Nimibutr’s Once Upon a Star follows a travelling pharma-cinema unit, which packs up a whole open air cinema and drives it around Thailand in a van, showing Thai films of the ’60s for communities. With the film shown through a projector with a temporary screen, the team then adds sound effects, score, and dubbed dialogue from a panel of microphones, a practice started in Thai cinema pre-WWII. But when a rival travelling cinema company shows up with more expensive equipment, and modern cinemas and TV sets develop, the team’s future is in jeopardy.

The cast includes Weir-Sukollawat Kanaros as the cinema leader Manit, Noona-Nuengthida Sophon as voice dubbing actor Rueangkae, Samart Payakaroon as the unit’s driver Uncle Man, and many more.

In a letter for Netflix, the director wrote that Once Upon a Star “pays tribute to the most captivating era of the Thai film industry.”

“Over the decades, the Thai film industry has gone through a lot and weathered many ups and downs,” Nimibutr wrote. “From silent films and noir classics to dubbed 16mm films in cinemas, it evolved into open air theaters, traveling pharma-cinema units, and has now arrived at today’s streaming platforms.

“My profound love and strong bond with Thai films have shaped my entire way of life and continue to be an integral part of my life. Therefore, I wanted to make a film to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Thai film industry.”

Once Upon a Star is streaming on Netflix from Oct. 11.


Shannon Connellan

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