Paradoxocracy: When Silence Speaks

Jutatip Thitisawat

Abstract


According to Film and Video Act 1998, every films to be shown commercially in theaters in Thaialnd must be classified by Thai classification board. The film control and regulations in Thailand have been changed since the new law was enacted. From censor system which cut and banned films for general audience, it changed to rating system that aimed to protect children from inappropriate materials while allowed adults to gain access to films that were made for them. There are 7 ratings including banned from public showing.

In the past many film censorship researches focused on censorship as oppression of absolute power, but my research studied the creative process of the film, and the negotiations between the film makers and censorship.

In my study, I examined the films Paradoxocracy or in Thai “Pra Cha Thip Pa Thai” that was initially banned by the classification board. It is a political documentary film by Penek Ratanarueng and Passakorn Pramulvong. After the negotiations, this film was shown in theater for 10 day. I did textual analysis of the film and in-depth interview with creative people and used framework of Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice.

After the film was sent to classified, the censors asked to remove some scenes. Then the film maker decided to only mute the voice and black-marked the subtitles. While accommodating, they were challenging the censor’s power. As a result, the silence brought attention to the whole movie. Simultaneously, it pointed to the existence of the censor system in Thailand. Something cannot be told. Something cannot be heard.

Negotiation is the process of balancing power. One strategy to lessen the power of the censors is to make the invisible visible. In this case silence speaks louder than voice.


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