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‘The Cave’ – covers a lot of ground but misses some key details

The Thaiger

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‘The Cave’ – covers a lot of ground but misses some key details | The Thaiger
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The Thaiger went to the first session of Tom Waller’s ‘The Cave’ and loved it. It’s frenetic, it’s very busy and it covers a lot of territory regarding the scope of the saga. But it also lacks focus, a lot of the actors play themselves with varying success and, well, we already know the (mostly) happy ending.

But the overall experience when leaving the cinema is of a satisfying portrayal of the dramatic international rescue and the many people that came together to make it happen.

There is SO much to cover from the entire, gripping two weeks during June and July last year. And trying to focus on any, one, story in the two hour running time means that a lot of other details would have to be left out. So the director tries to cram a little bit of everything so there’s not a lot of time to get involved in any of the main characters.

So where is the focus in the story? Who was the ‘star’? Was it the Governor of Chiang Rai province who we saw so often briefing the media? Was it the 23 year old assistant coach Ekkapol who carried a lot of the responsibility for the safety of his young players? Was it the divers who found the boys? Was it the Australian diver/doctors who came up with the risky evacuation plan? Was it the Navy Seal who lost his life whilst trying to rescue the 13 young men?

For any director this is always going to be a problem covering such a broad story of 100s of heroes and thousands of others, all providing help that eventuated in the successful rescue. Director Tom Waller decides to focus on the overseas divers that were brought in provide vital expertise and come up with an impossible plan to extricate the 13 young men. Specifically Jim Warny, a Belgian diver, based in Ireland. He plays himself in ‘The Cave’ and we follow his personal journey through the rescue.

'The Cave' - covers a lot of ground but misses some key details | News by The Thaiger

Most of the action is shot with hand-held cameras adding to the urgency. So sit at the back of the cinema, it gets a bit nauseous sitting in the middle of the cinema. There’s also a clever merge of original footage, recreated footage and the actual people involved in the rescue playing themselves. That you can’t really spot the real from the recreated is a nice bit of cinematic trickery.

The Thai authorities don’t come out very well in this telling of the tale but the local Thais, many playing themselves, will win your hearts as we’re reminded of their many unsung contributions to the rescue. The infamous Thai paperwork and bureaucracy, that is usually just annoying in daily life here in Thailand, becomes life-threatening during the real rescue. This ‘touchy’ subject is well covered as the drama unfolds.

Whilst the two weeks are crammed into two hours, you are on a constant ride of frustration, recollections and the happy moments when the 13 are all brought out of the Tham Luang cave alive, against the odds.

And then it ends, quite abruptly.

Having followed the story from Day One as a writer, I was immersed in the details for over two weeks last year. So there wasn’t many surprises in the movie.

Interestingly, the two Australian doctors who actually came up with, and implemented, the audacious plan to sedate the members of MuPa, making the extraction possible, were barely mentioned. The two men (who were awarded Australian of the Year 2018) ended up with a 20 second side story with an actor with a bad Aussie accent explaining to two of the other divers how to administer the Ketamine doses used to sedate the boys.

That was it. Many other details remained uncovered, including the huge tent city that rose up from the Tham Luang mud during the two weeks to house the enormous international media interest, complete with a pop-up curry kitchen provided by the locals.

But go and see it. It’s the first of many productions currently underway. The next one will be the Netflix documentary series which includes interviews with all the main players, including the 13 young men.

'The Cave' - covers a lot of ground but misses some key details | News by The Thaiger

Director, Irish-Thai Tom Waller, during filming of ‘The Cave’

It certainly makes me want to jump in a plane and go and visit the Tham Luang caves… when it’s not raining!

‘The Cave’ is on major theatrical release now around Thailand, in English with Thai sub-titles. Here’s a list of the main cast…

  • Jim Warny as himself, a Belgian diver and electrician based in Ireland
  • Ekawat Niratworapanya as Ekkaphon Chanthawong, stateless assistant coach of the “Wild Boar” soccer team
  • Tan Xiaolong as himself, a Chinese diver
  • James Edward Holley as a U.S. Air Force Major
  • Nirut Sirijanya as Governor of Chiang Rai Province
  • Bobby Gerrits as a U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant
  • Ross Cain as John, a British diver
  • Jumpa Saenprom as Mae Bua Chaicheun, a Thai rice farmer
  • Todd Ruiz as himself, an American reporter for Khao Sod
  • Erik Brown as himself, a Canadian diver
  • Mikko Paasi as himself, a Finnish diver
  • Ross W. Clarkson as an Australian doctor
  • Lawrence de Stefano as Chris, British lead diver

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Thailand

Thailand non-profit offers Zoom calls with Santa and his elephant friends

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand non-profit offers Zoom calls with Santa and his elephant friends | The Thaiger

Santa Claus isn’t at the North Pole this year. He’s in Northern Thailand. And he’s not with elves. He’s mixing in with some of Thailand’s beloved elephants. Don’t believe it? Give him a Zoom call.

Zoom calls on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with “Santa & his Elves” are offered by the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.

Zoom calls with Santa and his elephant friends are limited, and pricey! The effort is intended to raise money for the program which ethically cares for elephants that were formerly in the entertainment business. The reservation for a 20 minute call requires a $2,500 USD donation.

Those interested in supporting the elephant program can make a donation. “Elephant trunk calls” are also available during the coming year, but Santa won’t be around after Christmas.

The resort’s director of sustainability and conservation, John Roberts, says it costs $18,000 USD a year to feed just 1 elephant. A $20 donation feeds an elephant for one day.

“Since the start of the national lockdown in Thailand in March, we have taken in three elephants and their mahouts. The COVID-19 elephant refugees, whose camps were unable to care for them and would ultimately have left them unfriended and unfed, are now matched with friendship groups and, of course, have their own diet plan.”

To make a donation to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, click HERE.

SOURCE: Travel and Leisure

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Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai officials insist province is now safe to visit

Maya Taylor

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Chiang Rai officials insist province is now safe to visit | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ryan Harvey/Flickr

Officials in the northern province of Chiang Rai are assuring potential tourists from the rest of the Kingdom that it is safe to visit, saying the Covid-19 situation is under control. Chiang Rai hit the headlines in recent weeks, when a number of Thai nationals entered the province illegally from Myanmar. After bypassing health checks and quarantine, several subsequently tested positive for the virus, resulting in a handful of local infections.

Now deputy provincial governor, Worawit Chaisawat, is anxious to assure the rest of the country that the situation has been brought under control. He says the province has recorded no new local cases since the beginning of December. The only new infections in the province are imported cases brought in by those returning through the proper channels and entering state quarantine.

Around 180 Thai nationals are thought to have been employed at the 1G1-7 Hotel in the Burmese border town of Tachileik. Some media reports and claims from local residents say the 100 room, 4 storey hotel was used as a centre for prostitution. It became a hotbed of Covid-19 infections, causing much of its Thai workforce to flee, crossing back into Thailand illegally. Worawit says the resulting mini-outbreak of infections has now been brought under control and those who visit the province are not required to quarantine on their return home.

“We need to spread the word that there are no new infections in Chiang Rai. Visitors do not need to quarantine, and they are welcome to travel here. A flora festival is coming.”

The Bangkok Post reports that yesterday, the province recorded 6 new cases of the virus, all in state quarantine. All are believed to have arrived from Tachileik. Thailand recorded a total of 28 new cases yesterday, including 1 case of local transmission in a Bangkok nurse who had close contact with a Covid-19 patient.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Returnees from Myanmar account for 9 of 17 new Covid infections today

The Thaiger

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Returnees from Myanmar account for 9 of 17 new Covid infections today | The Thaiger

Today, Thailand has reported 17 new cases of the novel coronavirus found in people entering Thailand from other countries, with 9 infected returnees coming from Myanmar through the Mae Sai district in northern Chiang Rai.

All 9 were women who had worked at nightspots in Tachilek, the Burmese border town, featuring the now infamous 1G1-7 Hotel, which was the site of a Covid-19 breakout. They returned to Thailand on Friday and tested positive on arrival. All returnees were sent to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital for treatment, as it has been designated as the go-to hospital for returnees from the area.

4 other Thai nationals tested positive after returning: a woman from the US, a woman from Switzerland, a man from Japan and a woman from Bahrain. The other 4 cases were foreigners arriving by air from overseas destinations: a Swiss man from Switzerland, a Pakistani man from Pakistan, an Indian man from the US and a British man from the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai authorities are axing the idea for a mandatory 14 day quarantine for touristswho have returned from those areas back to other parts of Thailand, after the spike in cases from the border town Tachilek in Myanmar brought 38 local cases of Covid.

Dr. Prasit Watanapa from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital says the coronavirus currently circulating in Myanmaris a different strain and is being transmitted 20% faster than the one detected in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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