The controversial film “Apatti” is named as Thailand’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film award in the 89th Academy Awards.
Chosen by the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand, eight committees picked Thailand’s entry over three other possibilities.
They were Kongdej Jaturanrasmee’s romance “Snap… Kae Dai Kid Tueng,” Pimpaka Towira’s “Maha Samut Lae Susaan” (“The Island Funeral”), Ekachai Srivichai’s “Serd” and Boonsong Nakphoo’s Buddhism story in “Thudongkhawat” (“Wandering”)
The film “Apatti” is original entitled “Arbat” tells the story of Son (Charlie Potjes), a youngster from Bangkok who is forced by his father to enter the monkhood in a small village. Upset and bored with his situation at a rural temple, the novice isolates himself and lives alone in an abandoned monk’s cell.
He eventually makes friends with a village girl, Fhai (Ploy Sornarin), and their relationship develops into something more than platonic. As his misconduct becomes more serious, Son is confronted by horrible incidents both in the area where he lives and at the temple, and that leads to the secret that has long been hidden.
The film faced controversy when the trailer showing a monk touching a girl’s cheek and escorting a woman into his cell, prompted the appeal that’s been made to the Culture Ministry to ban the film. Opponents of the film say such images of monks behaving badly will make people lose faith in Buddhism.
The film later was banned by the Film Board.
Producer Prachya Pinkaew, and its director, Kanittha Kwunyoo, re-edited the movie to remove the controversial scenes – taking about three minutes off its length and changing the title to be “Apatti.” The film garnered more than Bt50 million in the box office.
The film was released on October 16, 2015, which fits the Oscar’s regulation that the film has to be released in their country from October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016.
So far, none of Thailand’s selections for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film have made the shortlist of nominees.