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By Film Threat Staff | September 27, 2002

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the North American and Australian rights to “The Legend of Suriyothai,” director Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol’s ambitious historical saga that is considered Thailand’s first big budget blockbuster film.
Originally released in Thailand in July 2001, “The Legend of Suriyothai” gracefully retells the story of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, its royal court and of the heroic death of Queen Suriyothai to save the king and the country from Burmese invaders in 1548.
The film captures the lush and vibrant era where bold leaders fought colossal battles and introduces new historical perspectives by addressing the crucial role played by royal ladies in the court.
Largely supported by the current Queen of Thailand, “Suriyothai” became a method for educating a new generation of Thai’s who were unaware of their rich and extensive history.
When director Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol screened the film for Francis Ford Coppola, the acclaimed producer/director fell in love with the epic tale. Coppola then volunteered to adapt the film for an international audience. “Suriyothai” is executive produced by Coppola and Kim Aubry of American Zoetrope.
“I was astonished at the grand spectacle presented on the screen by Chatri Chalerm Yukol’s ‘Suriyothai’,” comments Francis Ford Coppola. “The epic story of legendary Siam was alive with palace intrigue, politics, great battles and fascinating women. American Zoetrope is proud to continue our tradition of bringing film classics along the lines of Abel Gance’s ‘Napoleon,’ Kurosawa’s ‘Kagamusha,’ Paul Shraeder’s ‘Mishima,’ and Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Koyanisqaatsi’ and ‘Powqaatsi,’ and ‘I am Cuba’ to a discriminating film audience.
This new version of “Suriyothai” will be presented out of competition at the San Sebastian Film Festival as a companion piece to a tribute to Francis Ford Coppola for his cumulative works, which will include screenings of nine of his films.

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