Censored – Syndromes and a Century

YouTube, Pantip.com and now… a film by award-winning Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. As reported on Chalermthai, Pantip.com’s entertainment webboard, the censors mandated that 4 key scenes be cut for it to be allowed in Thai theaters. The director decided to pull the movie, slated to open on April 19, from distribution rather than have the cut version shown.

Film censorship isn’t new in Thailand, but from what I gather in this case, our moral guardians seem to be extra sensitive due to perhaps the current political situation. I’m guessing (from stills of scenes that were said to be censored and the synopsis) that the censors objected to the portrayal of two respected vocations in the film: monks and doctors.

I like the way thaiindie.com describes it (see their site for accompanying pictures) – the censors are said to have requested cuts for scenes in which the following rules were violated:

1. The monk should not play guitar
2. The doctor should not drink liquor
3. The doctor hard on scene [Doctor gets a bit excited after kissing his girlfriend]
4. The monk should not play something like this [a Frisbee]

Sigh…

In a way, the case is symptomatic of where Thailand is right now as a country. A group of unaccountable people deciding what people can see, hear or say. Different standards in law applied arbitrarily without transparency.

Further reading:
– Manager Online article (seems the censor board is holding the print of the film hostage) – http://manager.co.th/Entertainment/ViewNews.aspx?NewsID=9500000042073
– A review of the movie: hhttp://www.variety.com/review/VE1117931429.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&p=0

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