Thursday, September 18, 2008

Children of the Dark pulled from Bangkok Int'l Film Festival

While the Bangkok International Film Festival is daring to show political documentaries like Citizen Juling, about the South Thailand conflict, and The Betrayal, about Laotian refugees, a gritty portrayal of Bangkok's underworld and the child-sex trade does not sit well with the festival's main sponsor, the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Children of the Dark had been scheduled to screen in the "Made in Thailand" program, but because the film was shot without wasn't granted permission from the Thailand Film Office, which must approve all foreign film shoots, and because of the film's sensitive subject matter, it has been pulled from the festival by the TAT, according to festival programming staff.

Director Sakamoto Junji had been scheduled for Q&A appearances at the fest. His film stars Aoi Miyazaki as a Japanese social worker in Bangkok, trying to save children from a prostitution and organ-trafficking ring. Children of the Dark premiered at the recent Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Its timeslot will be filled by another Thai film -- Princess Ubolratana's uplifting drama, Where the Miracle Happens.

Update: Here's a trailer for Children of the Dark on YouTube, courtesy of Nanoguy.


  1. Last year the victim is Persepolis, now it happened again.

    I'm so sick of TAT.

  2. Excuse me for this another comment.
    I found the trailer with Thai language of this film here...

    I wondered who did this version of trailer, or the film was bought by some distributor in Thailand?

  3. Interesting trailer Nanoguy. Thanks for the link. I'll be asking around about it.

  4. I don't know i'm too over-panic about censorship right now, but I can't find the information of The Betrayal and Citizen Juling in the official site right now.

  5. Both Citizen Juling and The Betrayal are on the schedule. I don't know why the festival's website doesn't list them. I have a ticket to see Citizen Juling.

  6. Jason Gray comments on his blog: "If I remember correctly, I was told that they couldn't get the gov't clearance you mentioned in your post. So it was more like 'weren't given' than 'didn't get'.

    "The project obviously wasn't liked by certain people there from when it was still in pre-production."

  7. Kong Rithdee has followed up with a story for Variety.

    He quotes Jaruek Kaljaruek, chairman of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, and president of the Bangkok International Film Festival:

    "Even though the bad guys in the movie are foreigners, the movie contains inappropriate content about child prostitution that does not fit with Thai society."

  8. So the lack of permit has nothing to do with this film being banned, because it did have a permit, says Toronto J-Film Powwow:

    "Children of the Dark had already a run in with the Thai government during its production last year. Authorities had denied the film's producers a permit to shoot in Thailand, but the decision was reversed after it was agreed that the film would be a Japanese/ Thai co-production, ie: the Japanese producers paid the Thai government and a local crew a bunch of money."

  9. This year over two million dollars will be spent on this half-assed festival.

    No-one takes it seriously.

    When the festival director makes these decisions, it's clear that even he doesn't take it seriously.

    We might have hoped that when it was run by filmmakers, and not by the Tourism Authority, it might start to be a real festival, and not just a tourist trap.

    However, either the Director is just the appointed lackey of the Tourism Authority or he really has no balls at all.

    The sad thing is that the two million dollars might have actually done some good in Thai society. Think how many schoolbooks it would have bought, or how many ploughs for rice farmers, or kidney machines.

    This is a criminal waste of money.


  10. "Even though the bad guys in the movie are foreigners, the movie contains inappropriate content about child prostitution that does not fit with Thai society."

    what? These kinds of comments makes me so angry. They clearly have problem, why are they denying it? Forget about saving face, face the reality.

    Prostitution is rampant
    Child prostitution is rampant
    Sex-trade out of control
    Yaba issue rampant

    Thailand has a social problem, censoring it is not going to solve the issue. Gr!

    By the way, Thanks, for giving nightmares and terrible thoughts.When I saw the picture of the fat/hairy/naked foreigner and the child crying on the bed, I almost vomited. I was terrified and disgusted and angry, I couldn't even sleep that night.

    Thank you for that.

    Nonetheless it was powerful picture. Good choice, it left an impact.


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