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Thailand: Banned movie re-cut and on screens

10 November 2015

thailand_arbat

Previously banned, Thai-made horror film ‘Arbat’ is finally on screens as of 16 October 2015 after some of its controversial scenes were cut and the title was changed to ‘Apatti’ to appease a government screening committee decision.  

In September 2015, the Ministry of Culture’s Film and Media Screening Committee deemed the movie portrayed monks in a disrespectful manner, but would lift the ban if changes were made.

The movie’s producer, Prachya Pinkaew, and director, Kanittha Kwunyoo, shortened the movie by three minutes and said the re-edit did not affect the movie’s main points, though it now is a bit toned down, The Nation reported.

Though Pinkaew and Kwunyoo decided to make cuts to the movie to have it screened, 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or winner and Thai auteur, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, decided to take a different tack and won’t screen his award-winning film, ‘Cemetery of Splendours,’ in Thailand to avoid self-censorship or personal risk, the BBC reported.

In an interview with the BBC, Weerasethakul said: “Whatever movies we have produced, we don’t want to show it to Thai audiences because in the current situation we don’t have genuine freedom. I don’t want to be part of a system where the movie director has to exercise self-censorship.”

thailand_Apichatpong

In 2006, one of Weerasethakul’s films, ‘Syndromes and a Century,’ was banned due to four scenes that showed characters displaying “inappropriate conduct,” The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Since the enactment of the 2008 Film Act, which replaced the 1930 Film Act, ‘Arbat’ became the third film that was banned. The other two movies, ‘Insect in the Backyard’ and ‘Shakespeare Must Die,’ however, are tied up in court after the filmmakers took legal action against the censors, the Bangkok Post reported.

 

Sources

» The Nation – 17 October 2015:
Ban lifted after film re-edited

» Bangkok Post – 15 October 2015:
Film studio cuts ‘Arbat’ to placate censor

» BBC – 15 October 2015:
Thai film director decries censorship

» The Hollywood Reporter – 15 October 2015:
Thai Arthouse Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul Laments Local Censorship


Related information

» Artsfreedom – 14 October 2015:
Thailand: Movie banned on religious grounds



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