The controversial "monks-with-guns" crime drama Nak Prok (นาคปรก, Shadow of the Naga) was the top film in Thailand last weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Shown on 90 screens, it earned $483,889, about 15 million baht.
Not bad for a movie that has been sitting on a the shelf for more than three years at Sahamongkol Film International because producers were afraid it would anger Buddhist groups. Which it did. But no matter. The film was rated 18+, the highest advisory rating, and has additional Thai-only "pop-up" warnings on two scenes.
The Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee comments about the Buddhist group's call for the film to be banned and the pop-up warnings:
The rating system is enough, and then if a movie upsets you or your profession or your ethnic group, you can protest, make a noise, state your cause and your belief, because as we all know, to protest is one of our rights. It's check and balance, and if filmmakers wish to make films on sensitive issues, they also have the right to do that, but they have to think hard, because they'll have to answer questions. And the rating committee: they let the film pass without cutting, and despite the stupid warnings, they show that they're learning, or at least I hope that they're learning.
Read the whole thing. It's a good one.
Might Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century have been allowed to be screened uncensored under the ratings system as it's now being practiced?
Back to the box-office report. At No. 2 is the previous weekend's top film, Baan Chan ... Talok Wai Gon (Por Son Wai) (บ้านฉัน...ตลกไว้ก่อน (พ่อสอนไว้), The Little Comedian), which was on 94 screens.
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland was holding firm in third, followed by Matt Damon in Green Zone (down from second place) and the Hollywood rom-com When in Rome.
This weekend sees the release of Bang Rajan 2, a reboot of Thanit Jitnukul's 2000 nationalist historical epic. With the red-shirt political protests going on, I have to wonder: Is a blood-strewn battle drama the thing people are going to want to see?
More light-hearted escapist fare can be found in the 3D animated How to Train Your Dragon or the Meryl Streep-Alec Baldwin comedy It's Complicated. Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson is all brooding and dramatic in Remember Me and there's another Thai film, the romance With Love (Duay Rak, ด้วยรัก).