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Uncle Boonmee set for uncut release
By Patrick Frater
Wed, 23 June 2010, 17:59 PM (HKT)
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ), the Thai film that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes last month, has been left uncut by local censors. The film will get its local release on Friday.
It had a gala premiere last week and will now be released by the director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's (อภิชาติพงศ์ วีระเศรษฐกุล) own company Kick The Machine (คิก เดอะ แมชชีน).
The release is extremely narrow, confined to just nine screens a week at the SFX Emporium cinema in Bangkok for a month.
The film attracted a 15+ rating from the censorship board but was left untouched. That is a stark contrast to Weerasethakul's past two feature films. Blissfully Yours (สุดเสน่หา) had its sex scenes removed before a limited release, while Syndromes And A Century (แสงศตวรรษ) fought a two year battle to get a release. Censors insisted on cutting six scenes including a monk playing a guitar and doctors drinking whisky.
Weerasethakul replaced the scenes with scratched black film to draw audience attention to the enforced cuts. And in protest at the authoritarian stance taken by the authorities, he and other film-makers in 2007 launched the Free Thai Cinema Movement, which lobbied for replacement of the 1930s rating system.
While Uncle Boonmee contains moments of surreal oddity, including a disfigured princess having sex with a talking catfish, Weerasethakul said that this time he would not lobby or pressure the new censorship regime that took effect in Thailand two years ago.
But he still argues that the new law is dangerous as it is open to such wide interpretations. "You cannot make a film about politics, religion and other issues, so 1960s and 70s, when filmmakers resorted to a symbolic kind of movie rather than an overtly political one," he told reporters recently.