Friday, August 4, 2006

Monsoon Wife - part 2

In an effort to clarify the story behind Monsoon Wife, I fired off an email to Director Marlin Darrah and he replied immediately with some more background information.

Butterfly Man was the movie's original title but he decided to scrap that name when he learnt of another movie being made by a British-Thai outfit in the same year and in SEAsia, with a similar theme. Monsoon Wife is the official name of his movie. 93 minutes in length and as described on the website www.monsoonwife.com. The film was bought for a small sum of money by Universal Pictures and its subsidiary for distribution across the US in DVD form. Unfortunately, those marketing the movie took the liberty to change the name to Monsoon Wife - Return to the Kama Sutra, in an attempt to spice up the title without even getting permission from Darrah himself. He points out; "Monsoon Wife is not an erotic film as they would probably like to suggest. They even put Indian women on the DVD cover rather than Cambodians! Such are the horror stories of agents and distributors ..."

And the third title, Stealing Cambodia, is still the same movie, but shortened to 83 minutes in an attempt to recut the film for acceptance at the Sundance Film Festival. It wasn't accepted but nevertheless, has received a stack of favourable critical reviews and been a finalist or winner at 15 international film festivals to date. Not bad for a small-budget, first-time independent hybrid movie composed primarily of fictional feature film elements mixed with documentary elements by Director Darrah. "My film is first and foremost a drama, a love story set in an exotic land. It’s a movie and it’s entertainment. But it also educates. Many distributors don’t know how to handle the ‘social issue’ aspect of the movie," he said. "We wanted to make people feel very repelled by the child prostitution issue, but we took a gamble, realizing that they might also be repelled by the movie as a whole. There are a couple of very hard, very true-to-life scenes the audience must get through. They’re tough to watch for some viewers..."

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