Want to see Spiderman 3? Online or on the streets of Bangkok it’s no problem to find a copy. Looking for a pirate copy of ‘The Legend of King Naresuan‘? It seems you won’t find it. Why? It seems that it’s tabu to pirate copies of a movie about a Thai King in Thailand. According to a recent AsiaSentinel article:
By all accounts, most pirates have agreed to avoid copying the flag-waving films directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol, a prince’s son. The military leaders have lauded the patriotism of the movies, which offer a pseudo-historical look at how King Naresuan won Thailand’s independence from Burma (for a comprehensive look at the film’s accuracy, see this column by Chang Noi from the Nation Newspaper.)
Another film directed by Chatrichalerm a few years back called The Legend of Suriyothai received similar treatment from DVD pirates. It also dealt with Thais fighting against Burmese invaders, and served as a prelude to The Legend of King Naresuan.
“For King Nauresuan and the Suriyothai movie, although no one has formally documented this, there seemed to be a tacit agreement between producers and distributors that the products would not be found on the streets,” a long-time industry executive in Bangkok said in an interview. “Both Suriyothai and King Naresuan received government financing and royal financing, so they were treated differently. They are in their own sub-class of Thai movies.”
As for reviews of the movie, it seems that while a artful cinimatic display, some people doubt the purpose of this film:
What, then, is the focus of the film? I am tempted to say nationalism. King Naresuan and his associates demonstrate infallible hero qualities—sacrificing own lives to save the rest , mastering the art of war to defeat a seemingly impenetrable fortress and to defend the people’s independence, and respecting the battle rule by letting the opponents collect their dead remains and by never resorting to terrorism. In short, they come to symbolize the ideal Thais, who are, as goes a line in the Thai national anthem, “peace-loving but unafraid to fight”.
And from The Nation, Chang Noi writes:
The fact that Than Mui’s films are launched when Thailand is again ruled by the military might be seen as pure coincidence … or as no coincidence at all.