Sunday 27 December 2009

Pai: A Town Captured By Film Makers

If you walk around Pai, where I am staying at the moment, you soon notice that the street sellers are hawking some strange souvenirs: tiny red Thai postboxes, road mile-markers, tissue-paper floating lanterns, model Volkwagon vans. At the weekends, hundreds of young, smartly dressed, affluent Thais descend on the village from Chiang Mai to snap them up and to send a postcard to themselves, all because they feature prominently in a local film, an anthology of six apparently cheesy love stories that appear in Pai in Love (ปายอินเลิฟ).

I haven't as yet had the pleasure of seeing it (there's a review here and the trailer below) but seldom can one small, tranquil and fairly remote village felt such an impact as the result of one film. Today the streets have been blocked with silver minibuses and with day trippers and last night the night market was heaving - until there was a valley-wide power cut at around 9pm.

It reminds me of the impact that the children's TV programme Balamory has had on one small village in the Isle of Mull, but I'm struggling to identify whether there are any other towns, particularly in the UK, that have become so closely associated with a particular movie.

Suggestions - although not, in Pai's new custom, on a postcard - would be very welcome.

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