Thunska Pansittivorakul's Thai-made experimental documentary This Area Is Under Quarantine, which discusses the difficulties faced by both gays and Muslims in Thailand, has been banned by that country's Ministry of Culture from showing at next month's World Film Festival of Bangkok.
According to a report in the Bangkok Post, the problem has less to do with an outright ban of the film's themes – which includes mention of the Tak Bai Incident of 2004, a case of police/army brutality that left nearly 100 Muslim protesters dead in the southern Thai province – than with labyrinthine new laws involving ratings committees and subcommittees that are supposed to classify films shown at special screenings or festivals.
On his Facebook page, Pansittivorakul states the following about This Area Is Under Quarantine and the current state of censorship in Thailand:
“In these past few years, there is growing unrest in Thailand. For me, the root of our problems which have never been reviewed is 'Thainess.' We are taught to believe that Thai people should have good morals since our country is Buddhist country. That makes our Ministry of Culture spends most of their time in working on media censorship. Hatred of Muslim occurs in some people's heart but they have to hide their true feeling under 'Thai smile.' My film is still in the same style as I did before. It was made to observe a small life in Bangkok, the city of conflicts, the town that we're trying to pretend that we're civilized. This film will lead you to be trapped in a small hotel room in the middle of Bangkok (The hotel is now demolished and moved) in order to listen to an opinion from the output of the development of the metropolis which is called in Thai 'Krung Thep' or 'City of Angels.'"
The World Film Festival of Bangkok takes place from Nov. 6-15.