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THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
Cast: M L Piyapas Bhirombhakdi, Johnny Enfone, Sarunyu Wongkrachang, Marisa Anita Sorapong Chatree, Mai Charoenpura, Siriwimol Charoenpura, Ronrittichai Khanket, Supakorn Kitsuwon, Sombat Metanee, Chatchai Plengpanich, Sinjai Plengpanit, Suchao Pongwilai, Saharath Sangkapreecha, Suphakit Tangthatswasd, Wannasa Thongviset, Pongpat Wachirabunjong, Pisan Akaraseni, Ampol Lamppon, Varuth Waratham
Director: Chatrichalerm Yukol
Language: Thai (English subtitles)
USA: 142 mins
USA Rated: R for violence and some nudity
USA Release Date: 20 June 2003 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
A story of intrigue, romance and war set in a dramatic period of Thailand's history, THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI is based on actual events in 16th century Thailand.
THE LEGEND OF SURIYOTHAI begins during a peaceful era, but forces from both outside (Thailand's neighbor Burma to the north) and within, conspires to test the strength of the nation.
Filmed at spectacular locations throughout Thailand, with a true cast of thousands, this Cecil B DeMille-sized epic chronicles the life of Suriyothai, a beautiful young princess, who must choose between marrying her true love, a gallant young warrior named Piren, or doing her duty to wed Prince Tien, the son of the "second king," in a marriage arranged by their two very powerful families.
As the story unfolds, the Thai kingdom of Ayuthaya is enjoying a period of peace and prosperity, but the country's stability will be threatened by corruption and civil war. Colossal battle scenes with archers atop elephants, bare-breasted amazon fighters armed with spears, and invading Burmese legions firing cannons, are photographed on a scale not seen in the cinema for decades. Written and directed by Chatri Chalerm Yukol, a prince in the Thai royal family, the film was made with the support of Thailand's Queen Sirikit.
Palace intrigues and deceptions abound, with memorable characters and plot twists: one king who takes the throne in a coup d'etat is then deceived by his beautiful new wife, a former high courtesan named Srisudachan. She plots her husband's downfall, pushing her lover Worawongsa to usurp the throne, and to restore her clan, the U-Thong in its claim to power.
A band of loyalists joins Princess Suriyothai to assassinate the pretenders Srisudachan and Worawongsa, and to restore the monarchy in a daring sneak attack. Tien leaves the priesthood to become king, and to reunify Thailand. In a dramatic finale to the film, the Burmese invade Ayuthaya. Queen Suriyothai heroically rides an elephant into battle and dies in a valiant effort to save both her country and her husband's life. The life of Suriyothai has become a legend.