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Thai censors order additional cut

'Syndromes' to lose 'controversial' scenes

BANGKOK — Thai helmer Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been ordered to cut an extra scene from his film “Syndromes and a Century” (Saeng Satawat) after his appeal against four cuts ordered by censors last year failed.

Last April, censors ordered Weerasethakul to cut scenes that show a monk playing a guitar, doctors drinking whiskey, doctors kissing and two monks playing with a radio-controlled toy.

Weerasethakul refused and pulled the film in Thailand, prompting industryites to protest against outdated censorship laws.

When he appealed, censors ordered him to cut another shot that shows statues of Prince Songkhla, known as the father of the Thai medical profession, and the Princess Mother.

Despite the new Film Act, which stipulates a rating system (but maintains the state’s right to cut), censorship remains under the control of the police for another two months. After that, it transfers to the Ministry of Culture.

“We maintained the decision of the previous committee because those are inappropriate images,” said police Maj. Gen. Somdej Khaokam, who chaired the committee on Tuesday.

Names of the board members are not revealed to the public, but it is known that the committee includes a representative from the police, the Thai Medical Council, the Buddhist Society and film experts.

“They said my film is not artistic, and that I disrespect the medical profession,” said Weerasethakul, whose parents were both doctors.

Film was commissioned for Austria’s Mozart celebrations and backed by numerous international cultural orgs including France’s Ministry of Culture and the New Crowned Hope foundation.

Weerasethakul said he will show the pic in the mutilated form, running black tape in place of the cuts. “It will be a statement, and a historical record of Thailand,” he said.

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