After dealing with the censorship of his film for nearly a year, Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul will finally screen his acclaimed Sang Sattawat (Syndromes and a Century), with silent, black frames to replace six scenes the Board
of Censors found objectionable.
It's cynical, but actually it's a statement for the audience to make them aware that they are being blinded from getting information in this society, says the director.
Apichatpong first planned to show Syndromes last April in a limited release in Bangkok cinemas, but he cancelled the screenings when the censors said four scenes had to go. A petition against the action was started, and the director formed the
Free Thai Cinema Movement to call for better treatment for filmmakers.
With the election of a new government and a new film law on the books, Apichatpong said he submitted his film to the censors again, hoping they would view it differently. The censors asked that two more scenes be excised.
I was wrong. It's worse than the first time, but it was still worth the effort. I learned that the problem with the new film law is not the law itself, but the people who will be enforcing it, he says.
For a limited-release screening by the Thai Film Foundation, Syndromes will have the six censored scenes replaced by silent, scratched black frames - the longest of which runs for seven minutes.