“Twilight Over Burma”, a film about a Shan prince and his Austrian bride, was not just banned in the land of its origin, but also in Thailand where it was mostly filmed.
The film was removed from the Thailand International Film Destinations festival as well as from last month’s Human Rights festival in Myanmar.
Though the organisers have not issued any official statement, the reason behind the withdrawal is said to be related to bilateral ties between the two countries.
The film, known in Thai as “Singsaengchan” is based on the book “Twilight Over Burma – My Life as a Shan Princess” written by Inge Eberhard (now Sargent). Sargent was an Austrian student on a US scholarship who fell in love with Sao Kya Seng, a young mining student from Burma, in the 1950s. On their wedding day, she discovers that he is the prince of Myanmar’s Shan State. Her husband ends up being jailed after the military coup in 1962 and she is unable to do anything.
In reality though, the prince disappeared and Sargent fled to the United States with her two daughters. In the film Sargent is played by German actress Maria Ehrich, while Sao Kya Seng’s character is played by Thai actor Daweerit Chullasapya.
The film was mainly shot in Chiang Mai province and at Inle Lake in Shan State’s capital Tongyi.
“Twilight” was one of the four films withdrawn from the festival line-up.
Starting yesterday at Bangkok’s Paragon Cineplex, the three other films removed from the festival line-up were the Chinese comedy “Detective Chinatown”, Swedish comedy “Happy Hour in Paradise" and French comedy “Pattaya.”
“Detective Chinatown” was released in local cinemas in April.
The festival runs until July 12 and features films from different countries that have been shot either partially or fully in Thailand. This festival held annually since 2013 aims to promote Thailand as a film location.
The scripts of foreign films featuring Thailand have to be first submitted to the Thailand Film Office before shooting can begin. The government aims to encourage more international film productions in Thailand and has recently announced a 15 per cent cash incentive.