Board bans ‘Anna’ as insult to Thailand

Film undermines monarchy, distorts history, Police Lt. Gen. sez

Thailand’s censorship committee on Tuesday banned “Anna and the King,” branding it an insult to the monarchy and a distortion of Thai history.

The film’s producer and distributor, 20th Century Fox, had previously been refused permission to film “Anna” in Thailand, and was forced to shoot in Malaysia instead.

Still, a Fox spokeswoman told Daily Variety: “The royal family was quite supportive of the film initially; however, the board turned it down and we are reviewing their comments right now.”

‘Distorts Thai history’

Thailand’s Police Lt. Gen. Prakerd Sataman said, “The ban was imposed under the film act because the film intentionally tries to undermine the monarchy and seriously distorts Thai history.”

The film, which stars Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat, is a remake of the classic 1950s musical “The King and I” and tells the story of an English governess in the 19th century court of King Mongkut.

“If we cut all the scenes which we consider mock the monarchy and then showed the film, it would only be 20 minutes long,” Sataman said.

The 19-member committee comprising academics, members of the press, the national film board and a special branch of the police agreed to completely ban the movie and all video versions of it.

The pic has grossed just north of $14 million in its 10 days of release domestically.

(Wire services contributed to this report.)

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