Thailand is considered one of the strictest and most reputed Film Censor boards. They are well known for having brutal cuts on anything which resembles disrespect or impropriety. They also received a lark for banning films that do not comply with the long list of demands set. When it comes to movies, even those who do not get along with a political statement of the government are treated brutally. At the same time, some films, despite permission, suffer controversy after they are released. The filmmakers sometimes withdrew the film or do not release the movie fearing poor reception. The top ten Thai films faced controversy when released.
1. Insects In The Backyard
Insects In The Backyard is a 2010 film directed by Tanwarin Sukkhapisit. The story is around a transgender who is raising two kids in the absence of their parents. Under the new Film Act B.E. 2511 the film got banned for the scene which were inappropriate and pornographic. The film director even sued the censor board but received no relief.
2. Jan Dara
Jan Dara is a 2001 Thai film. The story is about the character who is attempting to break free from a cycle of sex and abuse which is perpetuated in his wealthy household while he is fulfilling his desires and pleasures. It features Jan Dara having an incestuous relationship set in the 1930s. He follows his father's footsteps and becomes a womanizer. The boy falls in love with his father's mistress. The film was controversial in Thailand as its sex scenes tested the censorship of the 1930 Film Act.
3. Syndromes And A Century
It is a 2006 Thai drama film. The film is set in two parts- The first part is in a rural hospital in Thailand, and the second part is in a medical center in Bangkok. The film gained a lot of attention in the International film industry, being the first to enter the Venice Festival, but it wasn’t welcomed in Thailand. The film became controversial when the Board of Censors demanded to cut four scenes to get shown commercially.
Pitupoom is a film that revolves around the lives of southernmost Thailand’s Muslim community and the issues faced due to discrimination. It shows the violent unrest between Muslims and Buddhists, sparked in 2004, which grew into a brutal insurgency claiming more than 5,000 lives on both sides. The film was removed by directors themselves due to self-censorship as they felt it had strong political themes, which could cause a lot of controversy among the people in Thailand.
5. Mae Bia
Mae Bia is a Thai romance-horror film released in 2001. It is a historical and culturally significant film due to its severe content and the artistic merit to represent the output of the short Thailand feature film history. The story is about a man who, after spending years abroad, returns to Thailand. He gets involved with a woman who is a symbiote snake. The film was considered disturbing because of its nudity, implied bestiality, adulterous scenes, and themes. The film got appreciated internationally for its artistic content.
Tongpan is a Thai black and white Docudrama released in 1976, recreating the seminar in 1975 in Northeast Thailand to discuss the proposed Pa-Mong Dam on the Mekong. It depicts a poor farmer, Tongpan, who lost his land some years before due to another dam, and his struggles to make ends meet. The film was banned by the Thai government because of its socialist message. In 2006 a 63 minutes film was released on VCD.
7. Cemetery Of Splendour
Cemetery Of Splendour is a Thai drama film released in 2015. The story is about a spreading epidemic of sleeping sickness among soldiers, which is connected to an ancient mythic site. The epidemic is used as a metaphor for Thai societal issues. The filmmaker didn't even release this film, knowing the strict censorship of the Thai Film Industry. He also did not release the movie because it had hidden themes that talked about the 1965 militia crackdown in Thailand.
8. Thang Long
Thang Long revolves around a female seductress. The film consists of inappropriate and proactive scenes as per the standard of the Thai audience, which led to a lawsuit against its filmmaker. In this, Wasana Thongsri plays a sexually confident seductress, the first of many to come in the Thai cinema, which served as the opposite of the typical innocent female lead. The film is considered as an uncomfortable film by the audience.
Eternity even called Chu Fah Din Salai, is a Thai erotic romantic film released in 2010. The story revolves around a man who persues a sexual relationship with his uncle’s new wife. The lead actresses scenes with nudity were censored, and banned. The film is said to have a hidden political manifesto, a story of lust, love and betrayal of the extreme.
10. Blissfully Yours
Blissfully Yours is a Thai romance film released in 2002. The film is considered controversial for its inappropriate sexual scenes, multiple scenes were censored or cut off. The reception in Thailand wasn’t as great as expected but is approved by the audiences abroad. The story revolves around an illegal Burmese immigrant.