Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DVD review: Me ... Myself

It's funny. It's cute. It's English subtitled. And, it's censored.

The DVD of last year's sleeper-hit romantic-comedy Me ... Myself is already hitting the bargain bins in Thailand, a move no doubt hastened by the fact that the DVD is published by Rose Media and Entertainment, the only Thai distributor I know of that self-censors its films.

Me ... Myself is the story of a transvestite gay cabaret dancer (Ananda Everingham) who is robbed of his identification and then struck by a car driven by a young woman (Chayanan Manomaisantiphap). The amnesiac man is then taken in and cared for by the woman, and they fall in love, which raises some interesting issues about sexuality and choices. The film is directed by action star and singer Pongpat Wachirabunjong, and based on a story he came up with, with a screenplay by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee.

Even at the low, low bargain-bin price of 59 baht (around US$2), Me ... Myself is still a questionable purchase because it is marred by censorship.

The worst of it is some blinkered pixellation of a nude Ananda Everingham. Never mind that the original film tastefully captured a profile of the fearless Ananda sitting like Rodin's "Thinker", and then when he stood up, his private parts were below the frame, or covered by his hands and a bowl he comically grabbed. But that wasn't good enough for the goody two-shoes at Rose Media.

There are scenes involving alcohol and drinking in Me ... Myself (including drunken karaoke caterwauling by the stars of an old hit song by none other than Pongpat himself), and for those, Rose thankfully does not try to pixellate out the bottles and glasses as is done on Thai television, but Rose does add a line of text to the frame to say "Drinking is bad." On other films, Rose will run anti-smoking messages and messages warning of the dangers of guns. A free Rose DVD of Johnnie To's Exiled came my way, and I had to stop watching it because the moralising messages were so out of hand.

Rose Media is the only DVD distributor in Thailand that I know of that practices this censorship. None of the other local distributors do, and this includes J-Bics, EVS and United Home Entertainment. Just Rose. I'm not sure why.

Anyway, it's unfortunate. Because Rose is the distributor for Mono Film, the only Thai studio that still includes English subtitles with its DVD releases.

Their latest release is Fighting Beat, much of which takes place in a bar where alcohol flows freely. I can see the warning messages already. If I decide to revisit Fighting Beat via DVD, it will only be after it shows up the bargain bins and even then, maybe not at all.

More information:


  1. Hmm... I like the wording on your comments box :)

    Thai TV have introduced a ratings system although this doesn't mean there is more to see, but just the same content is now given ratings - no one pays attention of course and such ratings are just for show.

    What about a rating system for movie? If memory serves me correctly certainly more risque scenes seem to be getting into movies or at least the pixellation isn't like the old vaseline scenes or the horrid attempt in the screen capture you posted. Also, aren't there plenty of "R" movies which certainly show a fair bit?

  2. What can I say, BP? Your blog is an inspiration.

    The film ratings were included in the Film Act that was passed by the rubber-stamp NLA. The ratings have yet to be enacted.

    Until the ratings system is enacted, if ever, the Culture Ministry will continue with its censorship, which is applied unevenly. Like a lot of things in Thai bureaucracy, the only thing that is consistent is inconsistency.

    Some films that are rated R for violence get a pass, with nudity and sexual acts getting the hardest look from the Pixellation Squad. Language isn't even on the radar.

    The pixellation on film is still pretty bad. They did some noticeably bad work on Hit Man, covering some little bare breasts. Even if it's a crap film like Hit Man, the censorship makes my blood boil. I don't like it one bit.

    Violence in Sweeney Todd recently got the pixellation treatment, which pretty well ruined the film. As word about the censorship got out, savvy filmgoers stayed away, which hurts the distributors and cinema chains. Surely, at some point, somebody who's high up in the chain will say something and make the Culture Ministry's nannies take a step back.

    I'm a bit concerned about the upcoming release of Rambo, and wonder how badly butchered that film might be - not that it's a great film that I really care about. It's the principle.


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