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My Thai Bride - The Passionate Eye

Winner, Best Mid-Length Documentary, Hot Docs 2012

Is it possible to find love in Thailand? Many westerners go looking, but Ted discovers that money can't buy everything and gets "lost in Thailand".

Ted Rees is a middle-aged British salesman. Back home, young attractive women are, in his words, “priced out of my market.” But when he travels to Thailand, he’s free to enjoy the company of the exotic and alluring women who work in the bars of Bangkok. He revels in the freedom he finds in a country where everything is for sale at the right price; including the beautiful young women who want to be with him.

When he meets Tip, a ‘bar’ worker, she’s kind, helpful, attentive, and most importantly, in need of him. A pretty and petite single mom in her thirties, she helps him with his import business by buying cheap Thai goods. Ted returns to the UK, but stays in contact with Tip, sending her money so she can give up her bar job and return to her family’s farm in her village. After a few months, at Tip’s request, Ted returns to Thailand and marries her.

In northeast Thailand marriage to foreign men seeking love and sex has become an industry. Tip is from the northeastern Issan region, the poorest part of Thailand. Like many Issan women, Tip is uneducated and could never earn enough to own her house or educate her child. She hates the thought of her daughter growing up to be involved in prostitution. When she meets Ted, she thinks she has finally found a foreigner who will take care of her and her daughter.

Ted sells everything he owns and the two start a life in Tip’s village. Ted finances a pig farm and builds them a house - but since Thai property laws restrict foreign ownership, everything is in Tip’s name.

Ted soon discovers there are many other foreign men who have married and settled in northeast Thailand. John, an Australian, says that there are about 90 foreigners living within a five-kilometre radius and that new foreigners arrive every week. For many Thai women, marriage to a foreigner provides a way out of debt and a lifetime of difficult work. Now that Tip has control of the finances, does she have any use for Ted?

While there have been other films about prostitution in Thailand, My Thai Bride explores the lesser known story of the foreign marriage industry and the consequences for the men and women involved.

Directed and Produced by David Tucker.

Credits (Click to expand)

Director/Producer

David Tucker

Writer/Editor

Ashleigh Hooker

Executive Producer

Michael Cordell

Original Music

Darren Heskes

Additional Music

Dan Harvey

Luke Tucker

Additional Vocals

Tilly Madder

Yahmo Mural

Kapkaew Suwwanakute

Sound Mixer

Peter Johnson

"Yaa bai leay Bangkok" & "Rai yart muekhad nguang"

Written and performed by Praiwan Lookpet,

Copyright Maemaiplengthai (Bangkok cassette) Company Limited

"Seth thee Nai jai"

Written and performed by Rung Photaram,

Copyright Maemaiplengthai (Bangkok cassette) Company Limited

"Nam Ta Ja Tho"

Written and performed by Suraphon Sombatcharoen,

Copyright Cathay Record (1968) Company Limited

Local Liaison

Watcharapa Thumtong

Translation

Piyapat Prakhanhul

Thailand Legals

Uraiporn Namprakhai

Thanks to:

Edward and Tip, Sommo, Mint, Noi,

Dan, Larry & Jamlong, Pon & Grant, John, Parwan, Peter & Nariya

Claire Jager and Mark Lazarus (Screen Australia)

SHOWREAL FILMS

Developed with the assistance of Screen Australia

Also on CBC