Coup Culture: No “Red Carpet” only “High Security” for Prayuth’s free to Thais “Guts & Glory” war movie!
Thailand is a popular destination for foreign movie makers, bringing for the country a large amount of foreign funding, and the movies, in-directly, helps promote Thailand as a tourism destination. There have been a great deal written, about the Thai movie industry itself, however, as foreign films flood Thailand with better quality films. In fact, apart from ghost and slap-stick comedy, few serious Thai movie are made and even fewer, becomes a big box office hit. There is the problem of funding for Thai movie. Currently, the Prayuth junta, is offering free viewing to all Thais, for the last installment of Narasuan, one of the few ever made “Big Budget” Thai film, that follows Hollywood success model of guts and glory type of war and conflict movie. With the big budget, comes success with the Thais, and the Narasuan series, is a big box office hit in Thailand.
But the movie Narasuan, is now seen by a large number of Thais, as a political tool of Prayuth’s junta. What will be the impact on Thailand, when movies, becomes an explicit political tool?
Prayuth’s junta is offering all Thais to see, Narasuan, a “Guts & Glory” movie about ancient Thai war. Thai junta free movie comes with strings attach, however, local news reports. The strings are one cannot leave the movie theater once movie start or tear up ticket. Those strings attached are seen as a sigh of protest against the junta’s free movie offer. The police said, such protest action, is against the law. And if anyone is caught walking out of movie theater or tearing up tickets, it means straight to jail.
To enforce the strings attached to getting to see the free movie and help police enforce the arrest , local news reports that the police ask movie theater turn on video surveillance in and around the movie theater and station police and guards to watch against such protest actions.
The “Guts and Glory” war movie, Narasuan, is the last in series. The movie had long finished filming, but the release of the movie was held back, for the “Best Time”
Narasuan Producer, is a staunch Royalist, and an iconic part of anti-democracy Bangkok elite Royalist establishment and anti Shinawatra & Red Shirts. In fact, some installment of the series, received the pro Bangkok elite establishment, Abhisit’s government funding.
Many Thai society observer, say the release of Narasuan into the theaters across the country, and the free viewing offer across the country, together right after Prayuth’s coup, is part of the Prayuth’s junta overall, “Orwelll’s 1984” strategy, to brain-wash Thais, to support the military coup.
Most progressive liberal intellectual knows that Narasuan, the movie, is being used by the junta as part of a massive propaganda and psychological warfare effort.
The Thai society observer, says therefore, the Prayuth junta greatly fear protest of the movie, and thus the mentioned strings attach and high security.
(Up-Dated) The movie, Narasuan, made with 100s of millions of baht, and considered one of Thailand’s few high-budget film, targeted to be a block buster, left the movie theater, quietly. This is highly unusual, because normally, in Thailand, if the movie have made money, especially, large amount of money, the news will be all over the place, in a major public relations move, by the producer of the movie.
The following is from Reuters (Source)
Thais clamber for free movie tickets as army promotes patriotism
BY RONALD POPESKI AND JUTARAT SKULPICHETRAT
BANGKOK Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:41pm IST
(Reuters) – Thousands of Thais thronged cinemas on Sunday to grab free tickets to an epic film featuring a mediaeval king, given away by military authorities keen to kindle patriotic feeling after seizing power to end months of unrest.
The army has been urging Thais to bridge differences after it staged a coup on May 22 to halt recurring violent protests by rival political camps, at odds for a decade. At least 28 people were killed and hundreds injured in the latest round of tumult since November.
Hundreds have been detained since the putsch, most close to ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, pitted against protesters allied with the Bangkok establishment. Attempts to stage protests against the coup have been snuffed out.
The army’s campaign to “return Thailand to happiness” has included free concerts and an order to broadcasting authorities to show all World Cup soccer games on free-to-air channels.
About 40 Bangkok cinemas offered a free morning showing of “The Legend of King Naresuan Part V” and movie-goers jammed a plush city-centre shopping mall – about five times more than the 500 seats available.
Army officers, caught off guard, scurried off to find crowd control barriers. “No one gets tickets until you form an orderly queue,” one officer, standing on a table, shouted through a loudhailer.
Organisers relented and disappointed patrons, many with small children, were offered cheap tickets at a later screening.
Junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has urged Thais to seek common ground and for schools to instil patriotic feeling.
The film depicts King Naresuan the Great, ruler of Siam, as Thailand was formerly known, and his drive to end the domination of invaders from neighbouring Burma during his rule from 1590 to 1605.
ELEPHANTS IN BATTLE
Featuring computer-generated battle scenes with warriors atop elephants, the film has nationalist overtones and focuses heavily on self-sacrifice and patriotic love.
“There are so many problems in society. I think this movie will help us feel patriotic and united,” Ngamjai Munkatanyu, 51, said after securing tickets for her two children and a niece. “That’s how we can survive.”
The movie’s prequels were some of the highest-grossing films in Thai box-office history. The cast includes military officers keen to promote the film’s message.
“All of us, the government, the private sector, must set down a foundation to create stability for the next generation,” Lieutenant-Colonel Wanchana Sawasdee, an actor and poster boy for the military who plays the king, said after an advance weekend showing. “This movie is part of that.”
The issue of succession to revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, is sensitive in the country of 67 million. His son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, has yet to secure the same devotion.
Some analysts suggest the dividends may be brief from attempts to heal divisions while the military holds power. There have been 19 successful or abortive coups in Thailand since the mid-1930s.
“It will work in the short term because Thais are pragmatic. We try to get everything that is to our benefit and suits our tastes,” said Kan Yuengyong, director of the Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank.
“In the long term, this is questionable. People will think about their own rights and the rationale of a military regime. People will want to know who will be the next prime minister.”
(Additional reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Robert Birsel)