Monday, May 1, 2006

Genocide: It's not a game

I'm back, after taking a break from the Web while I did some travelling outside Thailand. And I've returned to find a controversy over the new Thai horror film, Ghost Game.

Seems the filmmakers approached the Cambodian government about making a movie at Tuol Sleng Prison, a former high school that was turned into a torture center by the Khmer Rouge. Fearing that the movie - about a fictional reality TV series set in a haunted war museum - would make light of the atrocities that took place under the genocidal regime, permission to film at Toul Sleng was denied.

So the filmmakers returned to Thailand and made a mock-up of Tuol Sleng, right down to the electrified, steel-frame beds with no mattresses and the checker-board pattern floors.

People are none too happy about it.

Executive producer Napat Pavaputanont na mahasarakam, producer Pantham Thongsang and director Sarawut Wichiensarn issued a public apology.

The Nation had an editorial, strongly condemning the movie.

Even Kaiju Shakedown has news about it.

And Youk Chhang, director of Documentation Center-Cambodia, which houses documentation of the Khmer Rouge genocide, has written a full-page article on the Bangkok Post's Outlook section, titled, "Genocide is Not a Game." He writes about his own horrific experiences under the Khmer Rouge. His story is also inspirational and uplifting - it would make a great movie if it were treated with the proper respect.

For further reference on the Khmer Rouge on film, see The Killing Fields, or any of the films of Rithy Panh.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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