Phanthom of Illumination


A Feature Documentary by Wattanapume Laisuwanchai
Once upon a time, cinema was mainstream entertainment in Thailand. Movie theaters in Thailand were the place where families hung out. 30 years ago, there were 140 standalone movie theaters in Bangkok. As time went by, old-fashioned movie theaters are forgotten. Most of them became second-class movie theater showing double feature or pornography and eventually closed down.Thonburi Rama is the last second class movie theater that opened until 2013 , when it had to close down. After the closure of Thonburirama, Rit, a projectionist who worked there for more than 25 years became a jobless person. His knowledge of film projecting became useless. He turned into an alcoholic and tried to study Dharma. Sometimes what he spoke were things that he mixed the reality with his own fantasy. Rit went back to his hometown where his wife and daughter owned a rubber plantation, but he felt that he didn’t fit in and lost all hope.

After watching the second round. What was talking to the director is we wanted to play something different from the typical movie poster in Thailand and others wanted it to have value as a work of art for the collection. I started the process by spread out paper lists the keywords and finding the main idea of the film.

The Phanthom (Ghost, Shadow, Phantasm), Illumination (The Shining Light), changes and movies in addition to these keywords the director add the idea that he wants the elements in the poster to become like floating around. No ground or natural direction way of looking at it. 

After I got the behind the scene photos and movies screenshot. Our idea was to use the techniques 'Overlap' (Image overlap) to provide a narrative between reality and dreams, with images of 'Rit' The main character of the story is in the middle.

In addition to the communication, the direction that we both agree is we wanted the posters to look like a Thai retro movie poster. Maybe with the elements, colours or factors that give a story to link to an old theatre, but the difficulty is how to make the teenager see and doesn't feel chuck.

Rit's image, Cinema, Homeland and Rubber Taping trees. I separate photos come out as the scene,
to choose which elements are used together as the primary structure. Everyone’s okay with the overlay techniques that we use, But the comments from the director and the team are the picture still lacks the mysterious aura and Nostalgia (old).

I came back asking my self how can I make it unique from the other old posters. I thought about the 'Artist' who made the old movie poster. They often take pictures from the movie by memory image into an image with a painting and composition. I think it's similar to what I'm doing. So I decided to use digital painting paint over it so that the picture came out in a strange mix of modern design and traditional techniques. The results are haunting and semi-real, semi-dream. The method can also be said of replacing the film with the digital era in movies as well. "

And this is the poster digital painting version, I tried the old typographic character adapted to the floating layout which had no main direction, but this poster did not say anything about the movie. It lacks information that will guide the audience that the film is about. But the view from the director reflects this. We need to cut the techniques and concepts to specific messages about the film's more noticeable.

However. This edition's poster itself is still very prosperous. I stayed at one of the signs to get back to doing something else then I actually forget that what is it before I paint it. It reminds me that one sentence Rit spoke in the film that 'When the time has passed He returned home again find that everything has changed beyond recognition' It's like that feeling when we feel the poster to see it again

When a problem to be solved is not easy for any designer. To cut some aspects of the work itself out. We sit back and take a look of this work with the director again for the priority elements in the picture. Both the director and I agreed that the posters must have photos of 'Rit' the main component cause the whole movie has this guy is sort of the core, as well as the main essence of the movie poster, we are gradually eliminated the nonessential. Of course, a trial that is to be on the way. Until a final version of the film, and we believe it was the best version.