Oscars: Thailand Selects 'Malila: The Farewell Flower' for Foreign-Language Category

'Malila: The Farewell Flower'

Anucha Boonyawatanya's daring gay-themed romance won best director honors at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2017.

Thailand has selected Anucha Boonyawatanya's daring gay-themed romance Malila: The Farewell Flower as its submission for consideration in the best foreign-language film Oscar category.

The story of a gay man seeking redemption through Buddhism for his failings, Boonyawatana's film focuses on the love affair between handsome farmer Shane (Sukollawat Kanarot) and Pitch (Anuchit Sapanpong), a skilled draftsman of bai sri (elaborate floral ornaments made from jasmine and banana leaves) who is dying of cancer. The delicate decorations symbolize the fleeting nature of life — how briefly it blooms and how rapidly it withers, a process reflected in the progression of Pitch's illness.

The film, which has been welcomed by gay communities internationally, won an outstanding artistic achievement award in the special programming section of Los Angeles' Outfest LGBTQ Film Festival in July. It also picked up best director honors at last year's Singapore International Film Festival and the Kim Ji-seok award at the Busan International Film Festival.

Malila: The Farewell Flower was produced by G Village Co-Creation Hub (Thailand). Reel Suspects are handling international sales.

Thailand has regularly submitted films to the Oscars since 1984, but it has yet to receive a nomination.