timespace coordinates: 2000’s ThailandThai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang directs the character-driven drama Last Life in the Universe, co-written by first-time screenwriter Prabda Yoon. Kenji (Tadanobu Asano) is a Japanese man living in Bangkok. He lives a tidy, silent lifestyle fueled by the detached desire to kill himself. Meanwhile, Noi (Sinitta Boonyasak) is a pot-smoking call girl who lives in a shabby beachside home outside the city. She tries to teach herself to speak Japanese with hopes of moving to Osaka. One day, Kenji walks into his apartment as his brother Yukio (Yutaka Matsushige) is involved in a gun fight with gangster (yakuza) Takashi (Riki Takeuchi). Then Kenji accidentally witnesses the death of Noi’s lovely sister, Nid (Laila Boonyasak), with whom he first became smitten at the library. Having nowhere to go, Kenji goes to live with Noi for a few days, leading to the development of a strange and sensitive relationship. With cinematography by Hong Kong-based photographer Christopher Doyle. Last Life in the Universe won an Upstream Prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. (rottentomatoes)
A Prayer Before Dawn is a 2017 internationally co-produced prison-/boxing-/survival-drama film directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, from a screenplay written by Jonathan Hirschbein and Nick Saltrese, starring Joe Cole. It is based on the book A Prayer Before Dawn: My Nightmare in Thailand’s Prisons by Billy Moore.
The true story of an English boxer incarcerated in one of Thailand’s most notorious prisons as he fights in Muay Thai tournaments to earn his freedom.
The inmates in the film are all played by real ex-inmates who have served time in Thai prisons.