Thai director cancels film's local release
11/04/07 (By: KONG RITHDEE)

The director of an internationally acclaimed Thai film has cancelled the local release of the much-anticipated movie after the censors yesterday insisted that four ``sensitive'' scenes be cut.

The film, Sang Satawat (Syndromes and a Century), is directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and tells the story of doctors at a rural hospital.

The scenes the board found objectionable show a young monk playing a guitar, a group of doctors drinking whisky in a hospital basement, a doctor kissing his girlfriend in a hospital locker room, and two monks playing with a radio-controlled flying saucer.

``The scenes involving doctors are inappropriate,'' said Supawat Pothong, a representative of the Medical Council who attended the censorship board meeting yesterday.

``Drinking whisky in a hospital is not proper conduct by medical professionals,'' he said.

``Sure, doctors can kiss their girlfriends. Doing that at home is all right, but doing it in a hospital is inappropriate.''

Mr Apichatpong, whose parents were both doctors, is currently in the US.

He emailed the Bangkok Post, saying he has no intention of cutting those scenes and will withdraw the film.

``I, as a filmmaker, treat my works as I do my own sons or daughters,'' he wrote. ``I don't care if people are fond of them or despise them, as long as I created them with my best intentions and efforts.

``If these offspring of mine cannot live in their own country for whatever reason, let them be free. There is no reason to mutilate them in fear of the system. Otherwise there is no reason for one to continue making art.''

Saeng Satawat premiered at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival in August and went on to garner praise and awards from audiences, critics and at film festivals around the world.

On March 21, it won the award for best film editing at the inaugural Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong.

It was scheduled to open on two screens in Bangkok on April 19.

``I don't know how to convince [the censors] that these scenes are not as damaging as many scenes in other Thai films,'' said Pantham Thongsang, the film's co-producer.

Critics and parents recently expressed concern about the heavy use of vulgar language and rude behaviour in films like The Bodyguard 2 and Hor Taew Tak, which attracted young audiences and were passed by censors.

source: Bangkok Post

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