Thursday, 9 January 2014

Pan American Airline Archive Film for Thailand




The voice over at 10 minutes says 'Kites such as this represent Siamese men. Nowhere else in the world are kite flyers such skilled manipulators. Competing with the male kites are frivolous and wriggling female kites'

If we take into account that kite flying in Thai is a metaphor for having a tug I think this promotional video has a lot more subtext than would otherwise be evident.

The film relies on the Asian clich├ęs that I've talked about in The Wonderful World of Suzie Wong and The Ugly American that was filmed in Thailand.

Strangely enough a Zbigniew Brzezinski character steps off the Pan American plane in the beginning. I don't recognise many of the roads apart from Ratchadamnoen and a distant Victory Monument in the beginning, but some look like Chinatown as they're one-way a lot of the time. There's plenty of Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew.

There's lots of guff in this propaganda film, such as a claim that Thais eat one pound of rice a day. That's not the case even if they are referring to cooked rice and completely impossible if referring to dry rice.

I just checked. It's 285 grams a day 

However there are some nice clips of old Bangkok, and it's worth a watch for the enthusiast. There's a nice opening scene of the view from Pratumnak Hill overlooking the crescent bay of Pattaya

To the south is Jomtien Beach but that isn't shown.

Bangkok Photograph by Ian Taylor