Thai censor vetoes film adaptation of Macbeth

Written on:April 5, 2023
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shakespeare must die

Photo: Asian Correspondent

Censorship drama unfolds in Thailand as the state censors have proscribed screening of a film based on William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, saying that the film contains ‘divisive’ elements that can stir political tensions.

Thai-language film Shakespeare Must Die “has content that causes divisiveness among the people of the nation”, a statement issued by the Film Censorship Board under the administration of the newly-elected government said.

The film – set in the backdrop of a fictional state and narrating the story of an aspirational Scottish general who assassins the king in an attempt to rise to power – uses news footage of protest demonstrations by supporters of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was deposed in 2006 by a military coup.

During production, the then anti-Thaksin Thai government allotted funds for the film that was later sent to the censors for review under the administration of Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The authorities say the film has excessive usage of the colour red – a definitive reminder of the country’s red-shirt protesters whose opposition of the dictatorship put them in direct confrontation course with the Thai military government, resulting in violent clashes and loss of lives.

Director of Shakespeare Must DieIng Kanjanavanit appeared bemused by the government’s decision to ban the film, saying that not many films receive such treatment in Thailand.

“It is amazing they (the Thai government) would find a poet dead 400 years such a threat”, Kanjanavanit said, adding that the people of Thailand were “living in a climate of fear.”

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