This week, controversy engulfed Prabda Yoon's film debut Motel Mist, when it was pulled from screens straight after its press premiere by the producers, True Visions. While that film's future is now uncertain, we take a look at other prominent titles that failed to see the light of day here in Thailand. 

Tongpan (1977)
Directed by Euthana Mukdasanit and Surachai Jantimatorn

This docudrama film follows the proposal of the Pa-Mong Dam along the Mekong River in 1975, which threatened the livelihoods of those in Northeastern Thailand and Laos. Due to the underlying socialist and communist messages, and with the events around the Thammasat Massacre that year, the movie was banned from cinemas. It wasn't until 2006 that the film was released on VCD only.


Syndromes and a Century (2006)
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Despite having premiered at the 63rd Venice Film Festival (making it the first Thai film to be entered there) and showcasing at other film festivals in New York, Toronto, London and Vancouver, to name a few, this drama film did not receive the same welcome at home. The Thai Board of Censors demanded the removal of four scenes deemed sexually or religiously inappropriate—to which the director refused and withdrew it from being released entirely. Now, if you do manage to catch a screening in Thailand, you'll find the cut scenes replaced with a pitch-black screen as a reminder from Apitchatpong himself on the censorship laws in the country. 


Insects in the Backyard (2010)
Directed by Tanwarin Sukkapisit

This indepedent film about a transgender father raising two children became the first to be banned under Film Act B.E. 2511 due to scenes deemed immoral and pornographic. Despite director Tanwarin suing the government's rating board, the film was still prevented from screening around the country under any circumstances. Check out our interview with the director here.

Pitupoom - Fatherland (2012) 
Directed by Yuthlert Sippapak

The much-anticipated action movie, capturing the complex issues of Thailand's Muslim community in the southern provinces, was withdrawn from release last-minute when financial supportors of the film feared the reponse to its political topics, making it a film that never screened due to self-censorship rather than government ban. In a cryptic announcement message posted on Facebook, the director wrote "It's now confirmed that Thais will not be able to watch this film." 


Shakespeare Must Die (2012)
Directed by Ing Kanjanavanit 

This adaptation of Shakespeare's play Macbeth was banned by the country's culture minister due to its underlying references criticizing Thai politics and monarchy through characters such as a dictator named "Dear Leader" in reference to Thaksin and a murderer dressed in a red-hooded cloak in reference to the Red Shirts. The minister claimed that he feared the film would "cause divisions between Thai people." 


Cemetery of Splendour (2015)
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

After facing problems with the government for his film Syndromes and a Century, the indepedent filmmaker did not even attempt to release this film in Thailand at all in fear of government reprisals due to its references to the 1965 military crackdown. What a shame, too, considering it received critically acclaimed reviews around the world, particularly at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it made its debut. Read our latest interview with Apichatpong here, in which he states he no longer wants to deal with the Thai film board. 


See also: 25 classic Thai films you must watch