Consuming Modernity and Nostalgia: A Case Study of Cross-border Representations and Fandom of Thailand-Myanmar Transnational Cinema

This paper explores representations of identities and fandom in two Southeast Asia border-crossing films, Myanmar in Love in Bangkok (2014) and From Bangkok to Mandalay (2016). Both films have already been exhibited in Thailand and Myanmar and have gained a huge following in both countries.

Myanmar in Love in Bangkok portrays a contemporary migrant situation: It is a love story between a male Burmese migrant worker and a Thai woman played by Kaew Korravee, a Thai leading actress who has become famous in Myanmar because of her portrayal of this modern and unconventional character. Alternatively, From Bangkok to Mandalay, which notably presents Burmese and Siamese cultural heritage, has successfully created a feeling of nostalgia among the Thai audience, resulting in fan tourism to Myanmar.

Comparing these two cases, I argue that consuming modernity and nostalgia are the main driving forces of the cross-border representations and their subsequent fandom. This paper also engages with the existing fan studies framework put forward by Koichi Iwabuchi and extends the studies of transnational fans further by considering the Southeast Asian sociocultural context.