Films & Schedules

  • Chocolate

  • Prachya Pinkaew

90 minutes

Production Company:
Sahamongkolfilm International Co., Ltd.
Executive Producer:
Somsak Taecharattanaprasert
Prachya Pinkeaw
Nepallee, Chookiat Sakveerakul
Production Designer:
Rachata Panpayak
Deecha Srimanta
Rachan Limtrakul, Pop Surasakuwat
Suttisak Sittjit
Nimit Jitranon, Korrakot Sittivash, Rochan Madicar
Principal Cast: Jija Yanin, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabanjong, Ammara Siripong

TIFF Tags: Action/Adventure  Asia  Violence 

Saturday September 1312:45PM CUMBERLAND 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1311:59PM RYERSON Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

The 2003 Midnight Madness screening of Ong-Bak Muay Thai Warrior heralded action superstar Tony Jaa as the first internationally recognized celebrity from Thailand – an overdue feat considering the nation's long cinematic history.

Director Prachya Pinkaew and action choreographer Panna Rittikrai ushered in a new era of action cinema featuring no-holds-barred, full-contact fight sequences matched with death-defying stunts, leaving bruises all over the genre. Five years later, Pinkaew and Rittikrai unveil a new action discovery: twenty-four-year-old Jija Yanin, the delicate yet deadly star of Chocolate, who seems destined to join other “femmes of fury” like Angela Mao, Michelle Yeoh and Kara Hui.

Exiled from a powerful Thai crime syndicate following a passionate but forbidden love affair with a Japanese gangster, cancer-stricken Zin (Ammara Siripong) struggles to raise her shy, autistic daughter Zen (Yanin). When Zen's friend, Moon, discovers an old journal listing outstanding debts owed to her mother that would pay for much-needed medical treatment, the naive Zen sets out to collect from the reluctant debtors, placing herself in perilous situations that reveal a latent talent. Lightning-quick reflexes and years obsessively playing martial arts video games and watching action movies on television have provided Zen with subconscious training in hand-to-hand combat, transforming her into a martial arts savant. With fluid combat moves that emerge as second nature, Zen leaves a trail of cracked and broken limbs, placing her in sight of the vicious gang that her mother has tried to leave behind.

In a manner that echoes Ong Bak, the plot serves to propel Yanin through creative set pieces and acrobatic razzle-dazzle. Already a black belt in taekwondo, which she began studying at the age of eleven, Yanin trained in Muay Thai boxing for two years prior to filming Chocolate. Tackling the role chanting the “no stunt double” mantra, she endured nasty bruises and cuts during the arduous filming regimen, as is revealed in a montage of wince-inducing outtakes at the film's conclusion.

Prepare to cheer the return of Muay Thai Midnight Madness, but be ready to duck from Yanin's flurry of feet, knees, shins and fists.

Colin Geddes

Prachya Pinkaew studied architecture in Nakhonratchasima, Thailand, before directing his first film, The Magic Shoes, in 1992, and his second, Romantic Blues, in 1994. He has worked extensively as a producer, both independently and with many major studios in Thailand. Recently, he has directed the films Ong-Bak Muay Thai Warrior (03), The Protector (05) and Chocolate (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award