Angulimala

Anew genre -- the historical Thai serial-killer drama -- is born with "Angulimala," a wild, occasionally blood-soaked costumer set 25 centuries ago in which a boy born under bad omens seeks a higher state through slaughter. Moodily shot, but slowed down by copious Buddhist philosophy, this oddity looks of interest largely to Asian-centered events.

With:
With: Nopachai Jayanama, Stella Malucchi, John Rattanaveroj, Kamron Gunatilaka, Alisa Kajornchaiyakul, Anant Sammarsup, Varin Sachdev.

Anew genre — the historical Thai serial-killer drama — is born with “Angulimala,” a wild, occasionally blood-soaked costumer set 25 centuries ago in which a boy born under bad omens seeks a higher state through slaughter. Moodily shot, but slowed down by copious Buddhist philosophy, this oddity looks of interest largely to Asian-centered events.

Born on a stormy night into the tony Brahmin caste, Ahimsaka (Nopachai Jayanama) is packed off during boyhood to a priestly academy to seek “the core of dharma” (ideal truth) in-between tending a goat herd. However, the head priest believes Ahimsaka is destined to become a murderous bandit — which is exactly what happens when he runs off with the priest’s disgraced young wife, Nandha (Stella Malucchi, from “Tears of the Black Tiger”), and starts seeking salvation by murdering “evil-doers.” Ahimsaka gets the nickname Angulimala (“thirst for fingers”) from his habit of making a necklace from his victims’ digits. Lush score, alternating between “Omen”-like incantations and more religioso stuff, nudges the slowish direction and portentous perfs along.

Angulimala

Thailand

Production: A Film Bangkok presentation of a Chalermthai Studio production. (International sales: Golden Network Asia, Hong Kong.) Produced by Uncle . Executive producers, Prasarn Maleenont, Brian L. Marcar, Adirek Watleela. Directed, written by Sutape Tunnirut.

Crew: Camera (color), Nattawut Kittikhun; editors, Sunit Assawanijkul, Thanin Tienkaew; music, Boonrat Siriratanaphan; production designer, Boontin Tauykeaw; art director, Sukhum Methavanich; costume designer, Natthorn Rakchana. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 19, 2003. Running time: 106 MIN.

With: With: Nopachai Jayanama, Stella Malucchi, John Rattanaveroj, Kamron Gunatilaka, Alisa Kajornchaiyakul, Anant Sammarsup, Varin Sachdev.

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