The Straits Times Lifestyle section reports on the making of the action thriller “No Escape,” which contrary to some claims, is approved for screening in Thailand. The film reportedly was shot in Chiang Mai in 2013, so under the Yingluck Shinawatra government, which was also required to be appropriately royalist for fear of claims of disloyalty.
Co-writer Drew Dowdle says: “We worked very closely with the Thai government…”. He adds: “we had a very good relationship with the Thai authorities, and I think they were happy with the movie.” That relationship involved boundary setting to “protect” the monarchy and tourism. As Dowdle states: “… there were a lot of things they wanted us to shy away from.”
This means that “although the film shows a coup breaking out in a South-east Asian city … it never specified the country.” Given that Thailand is about the only currently coup-prone nation in the region, this is a bit odd.
Dowdle states: “We were very careful not to make it Thailand in the movie, so there was no Thai language used…. None of the signage is Thai and most of the language that the native population is speaking is a combination of Laotian, hill-tribe languages and other languages.” That’s enforcement of the view that Thailand is monocultural, which is clearly one of those 20th century royalist-nationalist myths.
The film-makers were told “not to use images of the Thai monarchy and to … never show the king or the colour yellow because that’s the colour of the king.” Tell that to the yellow shirts!
And, “no Buddhas.”
Nation, religion, monarchy and the tourist loot. Now that the military has conducted another coup in Thailand and the military regime seems attentive to all of these items, the last one seems to be falling apart as it enforces on the others.