Shadow and Act
2019 23 minutes
Director: Taiki Sakpisit
Music: Yasuhiro Morinaga
Sho: Jumpei oTSUKA
Violin: Natsume Saiki
Pre-production is supported by ACC CINEMA FUND

Shadow and Act navigates through the remains of Chaya Jitrakorn (shadow of the artist), built in 1940, once the most prominent photo studio in Thailand and was the only preferred studio of the dictator Field Marshall Plaek Phibunsongkhram. The film explores the studio’s seventy-two year archives and its owner’s personal photographs, while represents the defunct studio like the corpse of the deceased Giant. The film experiments with the relationships between memory and space and the past and the future.

Director’s statement:
Chaya Jitrakorn, which is translated as “the shadow of the artist,” was once the most prominent photo studio in Thailand. It was established in 1940 closed down in 2012. Built like a castle with many secret pathways and rooms, it was located in Chinatown, Bangkok. It was well known for its high-profile clients, including the Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, the fascist commander who shaped modern Thailand. During my research trip at Chaya Jitrakorn, inside the archive room, I’ve also found the portraits of Sarit Thanarat, Thanom Kittikachorn and many leading political figures that had ruled the country for several decades. It is said that this particular studio was the only choice for these powerful men when it came to the pictorial representation of them.

Among the archive, there were pictures of uniformed male and female officers standing in front of now demolished buildings, historical trial sessions, haunted portraitures, official events, field inspection, national ceremonies, and many mysteries. It is a Pandora’s box waiting to be opened.

In Shadow and Act, I want to investigate this fascinating photo studio that contains the history of Thailand and present, through the studio’s architecture, archive and the oral history, the sociological and cultural index of the haunted histories and emotions.

Navigating through the remains, the ruins, the seventy-two year archives and catalogues as well as the owner’s own personal photo albums within the space, the film presents the disused photo studio like the corpse of the deceased Giant; unveiling its surface and skin, exposing its body and soul and the hearts and minds. The film experiments with the relationships between memory and space, appearance and disappearance, factual and fictional events and the past and the future.