Kingdom of War, parts 1 and 2, starring Sarunyu Wongkrachang and Sorapong Chatree, directed by Chatreechalerm Yukol. 2006. (Thai with English subtitles.) Library Call Number: PN1995.9.F67K56 2011.
One of the few movies out of Thailand to make a splash, Kingdom of War is a grand epic biopic about King Naresuan, who won Siamese independence from Burma in the 16th century. With vivid color, breathtaking cityscapes and large battle re-enactments, Kingdom of War requires some patience in Part 1, as it provides background on the intricate and devious politics of the times. With the region divided into dozens of small kingdoms, each ruler is trying to topple their Burmese conqueror and establish their own empire. When King Bayinnaung overcomes the Siamese kingdom of Ayudtthaya, he takes the nine year-old Prince Naresuan as hostage, insuring his father’s kingdom remains loyal. The King sends the boy to live and study with a Buddhist monk, where the Prince learns martial arts and politics in equal measure. Naresuan befriends two orphans living with the monk, who eventually become his Princess and his general, while making an enemy of the King’s sons. Part 2 begins with the death of Bayinnaung, the succession of his son, who hasn’t forgotten or forgiven Naresuan and sends him to enforce the Burmese sovereignty over a mountain kingdom in revolt, while laying an ambush. When Naresuan escapes, he prepares his first epic battle with the Burmese.