Censored Films in Thailand

 Thai censors hack away



 Update: Shakespeare Lives...

Banned Thai film gets a showing at South Korean film festival


Link Here 24th August 2012

shakespeare must dieBanned Thai political drama Shakespeare Must Die , directed by Ing K, will be among the films screening in the Asian Competition section of the 6th Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival (CinDi).

The director said at the opening ceremony:

I thank CinDi for inviting my film even though they had to ship it under a secret name -- Teenage Love Story -- because the film is banned in Thailand, where people live in fear. I'm suing the government so I shouldn't even be here.

We are fighting because in Thailand, directors have less than human rights. But I promise Shakespeare Must Die is not boring. I made it like a Mexican soap opera and a Thai horror film. You can see it, even though Thai people can't see it.

 

 Offsite Article: Thailand's toil and trouble over divisive Shakespeare film...


Link Here 11th June 2014
shakespeare must die A court case attempting to revoke Thailand's ban of Shakespeare Must Die rumbles on through the current period of military dictatorship

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: Thailand 1984...

Screening of a film version of 1984 cancelled after police warning


Link Here 12th June 2014
1984 DVD John Hurt Nineteen Eighty-Four is a 1984 UK Sci-Fi romance by Michael Radford.
Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton and Suzanna Hamilton. YouTube icon IMDb

Summary Notes

After The Atomic War the world is divided into three states. London is a city in Oceania, ruled by a party who has total control over all its citizens. Winston Smith is one of the bureaucrats, rewriting history in one of the departments. One day he commits the crime of falling in love with Julia. They try to escape Big Brother's listening and viewing devices, but, of course, nobody can really escape...

A screening of 1984 , the film version of George Orwell's anti-authoritarian novel, has been cancelled in Thailand after police claimed it breached a ban on political gatherings, an organiser said.

The novel by George Orwell has become one of the unofficial symbols of resistance against military rule.

The Punya Movieclub in Chiang Mai said it was scheduled to screen the film but decided to cancel the showing after police said it would be illegal, according to one of the organisers who said:

We just wanted to show the content of the film because many people are talking about it right now... We show all types of movies. We didn't want to start a political movement.

When we found out the police had a problem with our event we decided to cancel, because we are afraid the people who come to watch will face problems.

Political assemblies of more than five people were banned under martial law and continued after the coup by army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha. The ban is enforced very selectively, and has never been invoked at a cinema.

One form of resistance to the coup has been reader - individuals or small groups sitting on public walkways reading Orwell's novel. Last week, protesters unfurled a giant poster of Gen Prayuth's face with the words Thailand 1984 written below.

The three-finger salute from The Hunger Games films has become another symbol of resistance against the junta, which has curtailed some freedom of speech and the press.

 

 Updated: Arpat...

Thai film censors unban horror film featuring a buddhist monk after cuts


Link Here 19th October 2015
abatThailand's state film censors at the Ministry of Censorship Culture have banned a horror film centring on the life of a teenage monk after the movie caused a stir among Buddhist hardliners who claimed that the film insults Buddhism.

Producers said in a tweet that it has to postpone screening the film Abat ('offense' in the Pali language, the language of Theravada Buddhism). The movie company stated:

The movie has been banned by the Film and Media Screening Committee (the committee of the Department of Cultural Promotion under the Ministry of Culture).

The Ministry informed the movie's producer and distributor that the film needs to be cut before it could go on screen.

On 23 September 2015, five Buddhist organisations, namely the Association of Scholars for Buddhism, the Buddhism Protection Centre of Thailand, the Buddhist Women's Association, the Network to Protect the Nation, Religion, and Monarchy, and the Buddhists Network, issued a joint statement to the Ministry of Culture against the film. The statement which was submitted to Veera Rojpojanarat, the Minister of Culture, urged him to review the content of the film. It was also sent to the film producers asking them to rethink whether the film is appropriate for screening in the country. In the statement, the five religious organisations wrote that the content of the movie shows disrespect towards Buddhism and Buddhist monks in the country and is valueless .

The film is about a delinquent teenager who was forced by his parents to ordain as a Buddhist monk, but continues with his usual layman lifestyle while developing a sexual relationship with a young female protagonist, which later leads him to uncover the dark secrets in his monastery. One of the controversial scenes in the film which shows the leading protagonist in a Buddhist monk's robe touching a woman, an action which is prohibited in the Buddhist monks' code of conduct

Surapot Taweesak, a Buddhist and philosophy scholar, however, shared his thoughts on the matter through Matichon News that there is nothing wrong with the film. He said that the call to ban the film shows a lack of tolerance and disrespect towards freedom of expression, which ironically goes against the principles of freedom of thought in Buddhism itself.

Update: Passed 18 after cuts

17th October 2015. See  article from bangkokpost.com

Arpat , the new name of the banned Thai film Arbat , passed the censorship board on Friday and was issued with an 18-plus rating after cuts. (Note, the actual name uses a Thai letter with no equivalence in English. It is half way between b and p, hence there's a choice of which to use in transliteration to English)

Several 'sensitive' scenes have been cut from the original version, and a warning text appears at the start.

State censors who judged the film yesterday were different from those who banned the previous version of the film on Monday. The ban was imposed on the grounds that the movie would tarnish the image of Buddhism through telling a story of misbehaving monks, (a sensitive issue in Thailand as there are plenty of misbehaving monks, many are just regular guys doing their duty of a short term stint as a monk, often under pressure from families).

The new version has been censored of a scene of a young monk kissing a girl, a monk drinking alcohol and a monk touching the head of a Buddha statue, among others.

A warning stressing the film is a work of fiction has been inserted at the start of the film.

Prachya admits that the title change, from Arbat to Arpat, may sound like a silly move , but he said it is a strategy to submit the new film for consideration while retaining the right to appeal for a new verdict of the original film:

We want to appeal for a permit of the original Arbat, but the process takes a long time, so we presented the re-edited version and called it Arpat instead.

Update: More on Thai film censorship

19th October 2015. See  article from bangkokpost.com

thai ministry of culture logoThe hullabaloo around the Thai film Arpat is the latest example of problems caused by what some people in the film industry perceive as flaws in the Film and Video Act 2008.

Some of the controversial aspects of the law, which was passed by the coup-appointed National Legislative Assembly, include the composition of the censor committees, and the measure that allows a film to be banned for national security reasons. Also criticised were a conservative interpretation of the rules, and most importantly strict state control over film, compared to lighter regulation of other cheaper and more accessible media such as television and print.

Many filmmakers believe the law, which introduced the rating system, poses many problems. Manit Sriwanichpoom, whose film Shakespeare Must Die was banned in 2012., said:

The law says the rating committee consists of four government officials and three representatives from the private sector, but what happens is that these three 'private representatives' are often those who are close to the bureaucrats, and they have to be approved by the bureaucrats first. That means the state still controls the thinking and the judgement.

The first film banned under the new film law was Insect in the Backyard in 2010. It tells the story of a transgender father and his two children, one of them a male prostitute.

According to Kajornsak Putthanupap, who chaired the committee that banned the film Arpat, there are six rotating committees taking turns to watch films and give a rating. He said Arpat was initially banned because it might create unnecessary conflicts in society if the committee had let it pass .

But for filmmakers, such thinking is unfair treatment to film, given the fact that content in other media, such as magazines or television, does not require state approval before its release. Pantham Thongsang, a film producer who has campaigned for a fairer film law for the past 10 years, said:

Some committees rely purely on their imagination that if a film has been released, such and such a bad thing would happen. It's like you forbid someone from leaving the house because you imagine he might go out and kill someone.

 

  Bugged by Censors...

Thai court upholds ban on trans film with a brief gay sex scene


Link Here 26th December 2015
insects in the backyardThe Thai Administrative Court has ruled that a LGBTI-themed film, Insects in the Backyard which has been banned since 2010, violates Section 287 of the Criminal Code.

The court says the short pornographic scene in the film violates Thai laws that prohibit the screening of pornographic films, in their entirety, or in part; and has impacts on morality and social decency.

The film by indie filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit reportedly contains an offending three-second scene where characters in the film are seen watching an X-rated gay movie which depicts graphic depiction of sexual organs and sexual intercourse, according to the Bangkok Post.

The court said the film can only be screened if the offending scene is cut to get a 20+ for audiences above the age of 20.

Following the film's ban by the Culture Ministry's National Film Board in 2010, the film's director filed a case with the Administrative Court to challenge the ban, making her the first filmmaker in Thailand to do so.

 

 Update: Solidarity amongst dictatorships...

Twilight Over Burma is banned by the Thai film censor from showing at a film festival


Link Here 7th July 2016
twilight over burmaTwilight Over Burma is a 2015 Austria TV drama by Sabine Derflinger.
Starring Zoe Addams, Sahajak Boonthanakit and Daweerit Chullasapya. IMDb

The U.S. scholarships Austrian student Inge and young mining student from Burma Sao Kya Seng fall in love. But it's only at the lavish wedding ceremony that Inge discovers her husband is the ruling prince of the Shan state of Burma. After a coup staged by the Burmese military, Sao is imprisoned. Inge does everything she can to free him. Base on the true story of Inge Sargent.

Burma: Banned from June 2016 film festival

An Austrian TV movie, Twilight Over Burma, has been banned from a Burmese human rights film festival by the local film censor.

Burma's Film Classification Board's deputy director general Daw Thida Tin told the BBC that the film had been banned for the sake of national unity and also the stability of the country and of our people .

the film festival organisers say they were also told that the censors saw the film as damaging to the image of the army.

Thailand: Banned from July 2016 film festival

The film was banned by the Thai film censor from a film festival of films made in Thailand.

The reason was attributed to solidarity amongst dictatorships. Though the organisers have not issued any official statement, the reason behind the withdrawal is said to be related to bilateral ties between Thailand and Burma.

The film, known in Thai as Singsaengchan and was mainly shot in Chiang Mai province and at Inle Lake in Shan State's capital Tongyi.

 


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