Making its world premiere, In the Shadow of the Naga is among 13 Asian titles announced for the Toronto International Film Festival. Here is the synopsis from the press release:
After hiding a large sum of money on temple grounds, three robbers return to find that a monastery has been built on top of their stash. To retrieve their booty, they have no choice but to become ordained as monks. But can Buddha's teachings free them from their dark impulses, or will their violent nature force them into drastic measures? With tense action and charismatic leads, this film arrives at an answer that is as unexpected as it is thrilling.
The film is directed by Pawat Panangkasiri, who previously directed Orahun Summer, the comedy from earlier this year about a bunch of bratty boys being packed off to the monkhood during their school vacation.
Update: The Thai title is Nak Prok. Twitch had something on this back in May in its coverage of the Cannes Film Market. I'm told the film was completed last year but likely won't ever been shown in Thailand because it breaks many Buddhist-related taboos.
Update 2: Hollywood Reporter has more on that:
Monks with guns -- that's how Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Southeast Asian programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival, describes Pawat Panangkasiri's In the Shadow of the Naga, a dramatic thriller he expects to generate controversy here in September.
The Thai film, which portrays three criminals who dress as monks to retrieve money they had buried beneath a temple, is expected to offend devout Buddhists, Phathanavirangoon said of the world premiere.
"It's a commercial film, but it has monks that commit violence and use guns that they point at the heads of people," he said.
Thai censors typically bar screenings of films that portray monks or the monarchy in a disrespectful manner.
In the Shadow of the Naga is playing in the World Contemporary section. It joins the previously announced Chocolate, playing as the Midnight Madness closer and Citizen Juling in the Real to Reel documentary program.
(Via Toronto International Film Festival press release, photo via Thai Rath)