A Conversation with Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Pen-ek Ratanaruang at Asia Society

Going to the talk today was really rejuvenating. Both Apichatpong and Pen-ek were candid and entertaining, so much that everyone was laughing very hard. (I personally think that both directors seem more approachable in person than watching their movies.)  The talk also mentioned the banning of the movie Insect in the Backyard, which is now in the appealing process in Thailand. This is the first Thai movie that is appealing the banning decision of the Ministry of Culture by taking the case to court. (If you want to help the director with the funding to fight for the case, check this facebook page.)  I also just learned from the talk today that the movie rating system was introduced to Thailand only back in 2008. Apichatpong shared anecdote of when he had to cut the scene where a monk was playing a guitar. Apparently the bottom line is that  if you have a pure violence without any association to religion (Buddhism, that is), the monarchy, and prominent professions (doctor, nurse, police, etc.) then you are not in trouble with the censorship committee.  One thing Pen-ek said that struck me as being so true in Thai movies was violence was okay, adultery was okay, but not penis.

Before this blog turns into a blog on Thai movie, if you want to practice Thai, you may want to check out The Last Life in the Universe .

Pen-ek at TAA event Sunday May 15, 2011

Apichatpong and Pen-ek at Asia Society event May 14, 2011

Pen-ek is coming to town

This is a rare chance to see Pen-ek, a talented Thai director up close.  For more detail of the event and free ticket info, please check the TAA website.

Description from Thai Artists Alliance Website

“Get up close and personal with celebrated Thai film director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang in the first of TAA’s new event series, TAA Talks. The director will discuss his life, career and thoughts on the latest challenges and opportunities facing Thai cinema. Includes a screening of his short “Silence” from the feature film “Sawasdee Bangkok” (2009). Moderated by C. Bay Milin. The event takes place May 15, 2-5pm at Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Ave, 16 Fl, The Solarium Room.”

Photo Credit: The Taste of Cinema