Thailand: Movie banned on religious grounds

14 October 2015

The Thai government has banned the release of ‘Arbat’ – a locally-made horror movie that was set to be released in October 2015.

The Ministry of Culture said that its Film and Media Screening Committee banned the film because it was disrespectful to monks and novices.

The film, directed by Kanittha Kwunyoo, tells the story of a young man who is forced by his father to become a monk. The young man later develops an intimate relationship with a village girl.

Following the release of the film’s trailer in September 2015, protest groups wrote to the ministry calling for a ban on the grounds that the film’s depictions may cause people to lose their Buddhist faith.

The ministry gave four reasons for its ban: depiction of monks engaged in violent conduct; monks drinking alcohol; monks in sexual relations; portraying images that are disrespectful to Buddha. Three of these contravene the five central precepts of Buddhism. The ministry said that the ban could be reversed if cuts were made to the movie.

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