I love it when directors try to introduce or reintroduce certain historical topics that can offer some inspiration during these desperate times. In the case of 180-Degree Series, dir. Punnasak Sukee made mention of Aristophanes in Symposium, which is all about Greek love – that is between men.

Thai celebrated artist Punnasak Sukee enters television in his native Thailand with a provocative, sensual, drama called 180 Degree Longitude Passes Through Us. Armed with real-world experience abroad, Sukee put his vast theater skills well and acts as a mentor to his actors, including Pond Ponlawit.

Ponlawit is portraying one of the major roles in the said TV series. He is previously associated with Nadao Bangkok. This new career path has given much excitement to his more discriminating fans. His character appears to be revolving around a slightly older man, and hints have been offered by the series director himself.

Aristophanes and Symposium

Dir. Sukee enlisting Twitter to tease his – mostly – BL audience outside Thailand.

Some accounts of Aristophanes and Symposium:

Plato's Symposium

However, strictly speaking, in The Symposium, the readers are given an account of quite another kind of relationship. Indeed, pederasty for the Greeks is in fact a more casual relationship that has a limited duration and concerns two men, one of which is older than the other: a mature man who is considered the dominant partner, the lover or the erastês, and the other who is a young man who has a passive role, the beloved or the erômenos.

Pederasty is thus understood as a very specific homosexual relationship since it involves two men who do not have the same age or the same status. [Passages from Wedgie Mag]

180-Degree Series: Pond Ponlawit casting

In Episodes 3-4 of the 180-Degree Series, the characters of Wang and Inthawut, have started philosophical discussions about life goals, Thailand’s scholarly pursuits, love, and other personal stuff. While there has been some sexual tension between the two, there has yet to be actual intimacy. Wang talks about love, while Inthawut talks about the past. But will there be an incorporation of emotions later? That’s what makes this series such fantastic work.

While Ponlawit appears ambitious, he does have justifications. Following some recent history, we have Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) who raised the issue of sexuality to an international height. There are some parallels between the two, in so far as character portrayals.

Ponlawit even asked on Twitter what the audience feel about 180-Degree Series:

Thai actor Pond Ponlawit engaging his audience on Twitter.

Parallels: Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine

Mentions of Greek homosexual love always drive me towards Mary Renault’s The Last of the Wine – a personal favorite of mine. Below transcript from GL Review:

At its heart is the love of Alexias and Lysis, two of the circle of young men fired by the wisdom of Socrates (Renault spells his name ‘Sokrates’. I don’t know why, but it lends a pleasing air of academic nicety). Many members of this circle are recognizable from the dialogues of Plato, as is the homoerotic relationship our lover’s form.

It is real and deep love, though at times one could mistake it for Platonic in the modern sense.

In all this time, Lysis never asked anything from me besides a kiss. I understood him, that he wanted me to know he was in love from the soul, and not, as they say, with the love of the Agora.

Even when the passion picks up, it’s never less than tasteful, as in this lyrical, if a little mannered, passage:

I lay between sea and sky, stricken by the hunter; the fiery immortal hounds of Eros slipped from the leash, dragged at my throat and at my vitals, to bring the quarry in.

To cap it all, Lysis is the name of a boy in Plato’s dialogue of the same name, with whom Socrates teasingly explores… the nature of friendship.

Mary Renault's The Last of the Wine

Things are just starting to heat up at 180-Degree series. I’m sure dir. Sukee has more up his sleeves.