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Dang Bireleys and Young Gangsters (2499 อันธพาลครองเมือง)

Dang Bireleys
Wednesday, 11 February
6:30 p.m. – Korean Studies Auditorium

Directed by Nonzee Nimbutur
Thailand, 1977, 110 minutes
Thai with English Subtitles

High school classmates become enemies in this action film about teen gangs in 1950s Thailand. Raised by his prostitute mother, impoverished Dang rules the school. But after he’s kicked out of class, Dang, his sidekick Piak and tough classmates Lam Dum and Pu Bottle Bomb start a criminal gang, running rackets until their past conflicts escalate into brutal confrontations. Shown at the 1997 London and Vancouver Film Festivals. Nobody predicted that a director of TV commercials like Nonsee Nimitbutr would hit the jackpot in a period of economic decline, but this film – his debut movie – broke the all-time Thai box office record, taking in over 42 million USD in just five months. Critic Sananjit Bangsaphan said the film – which uncharacteristically features no teen idols or pop superstars – owes its success to quality film-making, particularly its cinematography. Undeniably, a portion of the film’s success is due in part to the controversy surrounding it. Based on actual events in 1956, the characters in Dang Bierley’s are portrayals of real-life people who were once familiar to the local police – Daeng Bailey, Piak Wisukasat, Pu Raberdkhuad, and others.

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