Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Film censorship in Thailand in 2009

In a recent blog post, the Movie Audience Network in Thailand looks back at 2009, reviewing the first year that Thailand's motion-picture ratings system has been in effect.

Before the ratings came online in August, two films were banned from commercial release, Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno -- probably just for the title and premise alone -- and the teen slasher thriller All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.

Thunska Pansittivorakul's This Area Is Under Quaratine could not be shown at November's World Film Festival of Bangkok due to lack of "appropriate documents".

Before its release early last year, Meat Grinder was ordered to change its Thai title and had some scenes cut. Censors feared the gory thriller, about a woman who chops people up and serves their flesh with beef noodles, would show Thailand's food vendors in a bad light.

Censored Hollywood releases included My Bloody Valentine 3D and Watchmen, which had the pixellation and blurring of the old regime. Also, the Thai DVD of Watchmen is censored too, so don't buy it in Thailand.

The creepy-kid thriller Orphan, released just before the ratings came into effect, was also censored.

Bruno, which had a limited release in July, was also censored in some cinemas (see comments below).

After the ratings system was enacted, at least two Thai films were reportedly deemed politically sensitive and were ordered cut or re-edited. Sahamongkol's horror anthology Maha'lai Sayong Kwan (Haunted Universities) made references to students being killed by soldiers during the 1970s pro-democracy demonstrations in Bangkok. And Manop Udomdej's Suay ... Samurai (Vanquisher) had scenes about violence in southern Thailand.


  1. Bruno was cut, but the copy which was shown in House Rama RCA is the original copy (the another was shown in Paragon Cineplex as I remembered)

    Now the Thai version DVD is released. Its rating is 15+, I bet it's a cut version.

  2. Thanks Nanoguy! I did call House at the time and ask them what version of Bruno was showing. The person answering the phone was very coy and "could not say" whether it was censored. I didn't bother seeing it. After Borat and seeing Sacha Baron Cohen's HBO series, I'd had quite enough of his mean-spirited masquerade. But that was my choice to make. A pity Thailand's cultural minders don't feel comfortable in leaving it up to others to make their own decisions too.

  3. A friend told me he just bought the Bruno copyrighted-DVD, and it's uncensored! Unbelievable!


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