Ong-Bak: New Thai Cinema, Hong Kong and the cult of the ‘real’
The article examines the Thai martial arts film Ong-Bak (2003), a commercial success in South East Asia and a growing cult hit in the West. The author looks at the film in three contexts. First, it is placed in the context of ‘New Thai Cinema’, a category associated with both nationalist and transnational characteristics. Second, the film is seen at the intersection of the relationship between Thai and Hong Kong cinema, with Ong-Bak reworking Hong Kong's tradition of ‘authentic’ stunt work. Finally, the notion of ‘authenticity’ is considered as a ‘return of the real’ in an age of digital action cinema. This is argued to be double-edged, as an alternative to the virtual action of ‘First Cinema’ (and the Matrix sequels in particular), but also complicit in casting Thailand as a ‘primitive’ cinema.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Brunel University.
Publication date: 2005-09-01
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