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THAILAND - Feb 27, 2003

Thailand's progressive film industry is turning out gay-themed movies left and right, and turning heads in the process. The first feature film with a tomboy leading character opens today in theaters around the Kingdom, and if that weren't tantalizing enough in itself, the story takes place in the underground porn business.

Sa'yew is the name of the film, an expression of sexual thrill that one usually hears only from a lover in the heat of the moment. First-time directors Kongdej Jaturanrasamee and Kiat Songsanant spin the tale of a young tomboy student, Tao (played by actress Pimpaporn Leenutapong), who takes a freelance job for her uncle's porn magazine writing sweetly romantic stories based on her virginal fantasies.

When a newcomer named "the Stallion" (played by rock star Bu Blackhead) finds success producing raunchier material for the magazine, Tao realizes she is handicapped by her inexperience and sets out to experience sex first hand, eventually leading to an encounter with her macho competitor.

Tao's own gender confusion is set against a backdrop of social upheaval in Thailand, and society's increasing sexual freedoms are depicted both as a social evil and an everyday part of life that can bring temporary relief from suffering. True to its Thai soap opera roots, Sa'yew sugar coats its ending, but is never-the-less a welcome stretch from the emerging generation of young Thai filmmakers for its less typical topic.


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