01 April 2023



PTSD, a new exhibition at Cartel Artspace in Bangkok, features paintings and a video installation by Petchnin Sukjan and an anonymous artist who is currently facing a lèse-majesté charge. The exhibition is bookended by Break Your Silence, crowdfunded performances by the Unidentified Theatre group.

PTSD, in this context, stands for “Parliament / Treacherous / Sedition / Dictators”, and the exhibition is an artistic response to state violence and authoritarian politics. The paintings include images of yellow rubber ducks (symbols of the recent anti-government protest movement), which also featured in Jirapatt Aungsumalee’s exhibition Dark. In one painting with a potential symbolic meaning, a blue figure sits in a comfortable chair while another man languishes under his foot.

The five-minute video installation begins with footage of King Rama X being interviewed while on a walkabout in 2020. Journalist Jonathan Miller’s question about the protesters is audible, though the answer—“We love them all the same”—is heavily distorted. Co-curator Tanatorn Kongseng’s artist’s statement could be interpreted as a reply to that comment: “Don’t say you love us if you are still against us”.


The video footage is pixellated, as were images of King Rama IX in Neti Wichiansaen’s documentary Democracy after Death (ประชาธิปไตยหลังความตาย) and Natthapol Kitwarasai’s short film Coup d’état. It ends with a caption, “THE LAND OF COMPROMISE”, accompanied by the sound of a rubber bullet being fired by riot police. Again, this refers to a comment during the royal walkabout. A music video by Elevenfinger, ไอเหี้ย... ฆาตกร (‘damned... killer’), features a similarly ironic “LAND OF COMPROMISE” caption; the music video and the PTSD video installation both also include footage of violent police suppression of protesters.

PTSD opened on 25th March and closes on 10th April. The first Break Your Silence durational performance took place on 30th March, and another will be held on 8th April.

31 March 2023

Break Your Silence:
An Exploration of Topics Thai Artist Don’t Dare to Talk About

Break Your Silence

Last night, the Unidentified Theatre troupe held a durational performance art event at Cartel Artspace in Bangkok. The crowdfunded project, Break Your Silence: An Exploration of Topics Thai Artist Don’t Dare to Talk About [sic], explored various sensitive social and political issues, and challenged the widespread self-censorship practised by mainstream Thai artists.

The performance culminated with the spray-painting of “112” and an anarchist symbol, in solidarity with a graffiti artist who was arrested on 28th March after he spray-painted the same content onto the outer wall of Bangkok’s Temple of the Emerald Buddha. (‘112’ refers to the lèse-majesté law, which is article 112 of the Thai criminal code.)

In an artist’s statement, Tassakorn Theratapdhewan (founder of Unidentified Theatre) highlighted the undemocratic, violent nature of Thai politics: “we have a government that came to power through the barrel of a gun... This is the reason why the authoritarian government doesn’t serve the people, but rather does everything to silence them and oppress them. The people who protest on the streets are met with violence, tear gas, rubber bullets, and even worse”. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic: “One day, flowers will bloom and democracy will flourish.”

Break Your silence is part of the PTSD exhibition being held at Cartel Artspace from 25th March to 10th April. (PTSD, in this context, stands for “Parliament / Treacherous / Sedition / Dictators”.) There will be another, more extensive, Break Your Silence performance at the same venue on 8th April, pending a further round of crowdfunding.

30 March 2023


The Commoner The Commoner

Posters calling for the abolition of the lèse-majesté law were removed from the National Book Fair in Bangkok yesterday, on the orders of a plainclothes police officer. Staff at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center removed nine posters from a stall run by The Commoner, before the event opened today. The fair runs until 9th April.

The posters featured a “112” logo, a reference to article 112 of the Thai criminal code. A graffiti artist was arrested on 28th March after he spray-painted “112” onto the outer wall of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. The temple is part of the Grand Palace compound, and therefore a highly symbolic and sensitive location for such a slogan.

This is the third time that police have confiscated items from stalls at the book fair. Last year, a banner featuring hashtags such as #รัฐบาลเผด็จการ (‘dictatorial government’) was removed from the Same Sky Books booth, and t-shirts were confiscated from Same Sky’s booth in 2014. (The Commoner previously published สมุดระบายสีเสรีภาพ/‘freedom colouring book’.)

Anatomy of Time / Come Here / Worship

Anatomy of Time / Come Here / Worship, published this week, explores the making of three recent independent Thai films: Jakrawal Nilthamrong’s Anatomy of Time (เวลา), Anocha Suwichakornpong’s Come Here (ใจจำลอง), and Uruphong Raksasad’s Worship (บูชา). The book features screenplays, behind-the-scenes photographs, and production diaries, giving a unique insight into the production of each film. Early copies come with film posters, and all copies include links to watch the three films online.

Anatomy of Time made headlines this week as, despite its critical acclaim, it was excluded from consideration for the Suphannahong National Film Awards. The awards organisers, the National Federation of Motion Pictures and Contents Associations, now require films to sell a minimum of 50,000 cinema tickets in at least five provinces, to be eligible for awards nomination. These commercial stipulations effectively remove independent films such as Anatomy of Time from awards contention.

29 March 2023

End in This Generation

End in This Generation

Karntachat Raungratanaamporn’s photobook End in This Generation was published this week, in a limited edition of 300 copies. Karntachat has photographed the recent wave of anti-military student protesters, and the book documents the protests from 10th August 2020 (when Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul called for reform of the monarchy) until 12th December 2021 (when demonstrators announced that they had collected more than 200,000 signatures on a petition to abolish the lèse-majesté law).

End in This Generation is the latest of a handful of photobooks devoted to the protest movement, the others being There’s Always Spring (เมื่อถึงเวลาดอกไม้จะบาน), EBB, #WhatsHappeningInThailand, and No God No King Only Human. Like No God No King Only Human, it’s a large, glossy book, and—in another similarity between the two publications—its title is one of the protesters’ slogans, aligning the book with the aims of the protest movement.

28 March 2023

Global Ikat:
Roots and Routes of a Textile Technique —
The David Paly Collection

Global Ikat

Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, currently on show at the Seattle Art Museum in Washington, is a comprehensive global survey of resist-dyed ikat fabrics. The exhibition catalogue, Global Ikat: Roots and Routes of a Textile Technique — The David Paly Collection, includes chapters on the history of ikat in India, Africa, Europe, Japan, Asia, and the Americas.

The fabrics in the Seattle exhibition, and those illustrated in Global Ikat, are largely drawn from the private collection of David Paly (some of which he has donated to the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.). The catalogue is significant, though, as the first international history of ikat: the publisher accurately describes it as “the first time all the different iterations of this textile have been comprehensively brought together in one volume”.

The catalogue essays include detailed explanations of regional textile terminology (Japanese figurative designs known as e-gasuri, for example), and there is an extensive international bibliography. The first English-language book to examine ikat dyeing was Jack Lenor Larsen’s groundbreaking The Dyer’s Art: Ikat, Batik, Plangi, published in 1976 and now unfortunately out of print. The best general survey of textile history is 5,000 Years of Textiles by Jennifer Harris.

27 March 2023

Plook Payon

Plook Payon

Hoon Payon (หุ่นพยนต์), the horror film whose theatrical release was blocked by Thai censors, will be released next month in an edited version, retitled Plook Payon (ปลุกพยนต์). The censors originally gave Hoon Payon a restrictive ‘20’ rating, requiring audiences to show ID before admittance, which director Phontharis Chotkijsadarsopon described as crazy (“บบ้าตาย”) in a Facebook post on 9th March. Plook Payon, on the other hand, has been rated ‘18’ after an extra four minutes of explanatory footage was added. (Paradoxically, this makes the ‘censored’ version longer than the ‘uncensored’ one.)

The National Film and Video Committee initially required several edits to Hoon Payon before permitting its release: novice monks fighting and swearing while wearing saffron robes, novices bullying a child, a novice hugging his mother, and the recitation of the fifth Buddhist precept (prohibiting intoxication) during a murder scene. They also raised concerns about the actors playing novices all having eyebrows (as monks are required to shave their body hair before ordination), and references to the Wat Tep Hoon Payon temple were also deemed unacceptable.

Hoon Payon / Plook Payon

This explains the change of title, from Hoon Payon—the name of the temple—to Plook Payon. The case echoes that of Karma, a previous Thai horror film that was also retitled to appease the censors; its Thai title was changed from Arbat (อาบัติ) to Arpat (อาปัติ). Plook Payon will be released on 12th April. Hoon Payon, with its ‘20’ rating, will be released on the same day, so audiences can choose which version they prefer or, indeed, see both and compare the two. The only precedent for this simultaneous release strategy is the thriller In the Shadow of Naga (นาคปรก), which was also released in both ‘18’ and ‘20’-rated versions.

Five Star, the studio behind Plook Payon, is one of Thailand’s most prestigious film production companies—releasing critically acclaimed films by auteur directors like Wisit Sasanatieng and Pen-ek Ratanaruang—though in commercial terms it remains dwarfed by major studios such as Sahamongkol. In an interview for Thai Cinema Uncensored, director Apichatpong Weerasethakul contrasted his experience of censorship with that of Pen-ek: Apichatpong’s film Blissfully Yours (สุดเสน่หา) was distributed by Sahamongkol, and thus received lenient treatment from the censors, while Pen-ek’s Ploy (พลอย)—a Five Star release—was given no such concessions.

25 March 2023

Arcadia Rooftop Cinema

Bangkok’s Arcadia bar continues its weekly cult film screenings tomorrow with Katsuhiro Otomo’s animated cyberpunk masterpiece Akira (アキラ). Previous films in the open-air Arcadia Rooftop Cinema programme have included 2001: A Space Odyssey, Die Hard, Un chien andalou (‘an Andalusian dog’), Videodrome, and Alien. Akira was shown at another Bangkok venue in 2019, alongside Arcadia’s signature film, Blade Runner.

14 March 2023

Sheep Village

Sheep Village

Two men were arrested in Hong Kong yesterday, for the possession of seditious publications. The charges relate to the Sheep Village (羊村) series of children’s picture books published in 2021, and the men face up to a year in prison if found guilty. (The publishers of the Sheep Village books were convicted of sedition last year. The books are now being distributed from the UK, and are also available online in English translations.)

One of the books, The Guardians of Sheep Village (羊村守衛者), is an allegory of Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests. Another, The Twelve Warriors of Sheep Village (羊村十二勇士), refers to a dozen Hong Kongers who were arrested in 2020 when they attempted to escape into exile by speedboat. The third book in the series, The Cleaners of Sheep Village (羊村清道夫), is a reference to medical workers who went on strike in an attempt to force Hong Kong to close its border with China at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

13 March 2023

Nine Folk Tales

Nine Folk Tales

Are children’s stories traditional or old-fashioned? Do they teach age-old values or foster outdated stereotypes? Could they even have a propagandist function, promoting conformity and obedience? The editors of Nine Folk Tales have commissioned nine new versions of classic folk tales to subvert the narratives that children are usually spoon-fed, and to encourage critical thinking. Rubkwan Thammaboosadee and Palin Ansusinha have produced a box set of revisionist folk tales, drawing on examples from Aesop’s fables, the Brothers Grimm, and several traditional Thai tales. In Eat Your Stories (กินเรื่องราว), their reader’s guide to the collection, they argue that these familiar fables “teach us to stay within the moral framework ruled by social inequality.” In a nutshell, the objective of their updated folk tales is to “dismantle old tales by telling new ones”.

The new folk tales are allegories that promote social and economic equality, justice, and freedom. The nine books are: The Frogs Who Desired (กบเลือกนาย) by Narsid, My Mother’s Memory (ความทรงจำของแม่ปลาบู่) by Thiptawan Uchai, Girl with a Face of a Horse (แก้วหน้าม้า) by Ping Sasinan, In Hunger (ก่องข้าวน้อย) by Namsai Khaobor, The Fisherfolk’s Journey (ตาอินตานา โชคชะตาและปากท้อง) by Laksanapon Tarapan and Wiriya Wiriyapat, Rabbit and Turtle (กระต่ายกับเต่า) by Sanprapha V., A Ghost Story (ผีทักอย่าทักตอบ) by Arty Nicharee, Buffaloes Dream of Being Human (ควายอยากเป็นคน) by Tepwut Buatoom, and Little Red Riding Hood (หนูน้อยหมวกแดง) by Rubkwan Thammaboosadee.

Nine Folk Tales

Some of the tales have political subtexts, the most overt being Buffaloes Dream of Being Human, a fable in which a group of buffaloes seek a better life in the big city. In Thai, kwai (‘buffalo’) is an insult aimed at poor voters, especially those who supported former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s video Silence addresses this pejorative, and it has been reclaimed by some pro-democracy protesters.) The story includes thinly-veiled references to Thaksin—“Monkey, a friend of the buffalo, was elected as the city’s governor”—and the PAD protests that paved the way for his removal from office: “A mob of the ‘Louder Voices’ expelled Monkey from the city.” (Similarly, Charuphat Petcharavej’s short story Hakom/ห่าก้อม also features a proxy for Thaksin: “A group of villagers had driven him out of the village”.)

Another book in the set, My Mother’s Memory, indirectly confronts the violence suffered by the Octobrist generation in the 1970s. This disturbing tale ends with the young protagonist’s realisation: “the nightmares that I had were the result of me swimming in memories of the past. The memories of people who I might not even know. I have been carrying these heavy memories all this time.” As the editors explain in their reader’s guide, these collective memories of state violence are whitewashed from history: “Our emotions and memories carry alternative histories which are not written or taught in school history books.” (This theme of state whitewashing has been explored by numerous artists and writers, including Vasan Sitthiket, Tawan Wattuya, Sutee Kunavichayanont, Sirisak Saengow, Prabda Yoon, Thongchai Winichakul, and Emma Larkin.)

If Buffaloes Dream of Being Human and My Mother’s Memory reflect the experiences of previous generations of pro-democracy protesters, The Frogs Who Desired is an allegory for the students who are currently protesting for political reform. Based on Aesop’s fable The Frogs Who Desired a King—which is itself a pertinent cautionary tale about absolute power—The Frogs Who Desired ends with the slogan “NO GODS OR ANY RULERS SHALL SAVE US, EXCEPT OURSELVES”, a paraphrase of the student protesters’ motto ‘no god, no king, only human’.

The editors point out that The Frogs Who Desired has a “purposefully shortened title”, which was presumably an ideological decision rather than a legal concern. Another book in the series, In Hunger, features a poor farmer who recalls that “a stranger with a cruel smile preached us to stay humble”. Like Buffaloes Dream of Being Human, In Hunger challenges this notion that the poor must gratefully accept their lot in life, which the editors describe as a “mechanism that keeps everyone ‘in their place’.” (Precisely the same argument is made in relation to the ‘sufficiency economy’ philosophy in Saying the Unsayable.)

Nine Folk Tales is the latest of several children’s picture books with political themes. Last year, Suwicha’s สมุดระบายสีเสรีภาพ (‘freedom colouring book’) featured a symbolic blue elephant. There have also been two sets of picture books published by Family Club and the Mirror Foundation that feature similar political allegories. This recent trend began in Hong Kong, with the Sheep Village (羊村) series, the publishers of which were jailed last year.

10 March 2023


Sazandegi Sazandegi

The newspaper Sazandegi (سازندگی) was shut down by the Iranian regime last month after it reported on the country’s economic crisis. The subheading of a 20th February front-page story about the rising price of lamb—“گوشت چگونه از سفره طبقه متوسط و طبقه کارگر حذف شد؟” (‘why is meat missing from the tables of the middle and working classes?’)—led to the newspaper’s immediate suspension. Its permission to publish was reinstated on 1st March.

Sazandegi previously attracted controversy when it was sued by the Speaker of Iran’s parliament, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, over a front-page editorial and cartoon published on 26th May 2021. The drawing of the Speaker, by controversial cartoonist Hadi Haydari, suggested that he was anxious about, and therefore implicitly guilty of, allegations that he had interfered in the allocation of the budget.

Hoon Payon

The release of Hoon Payon (หุ่นพยนต์), a new Thai horror film, has been postponed after it was censored by the National Film and Video Committee. The censors required five edits to the film before permitting its release: references to the Wat Tep Hoon Payon temple, novice monks fighting and swearing while wearing saffron robes, novices bullying a child, a novice hugging his mother, and the recitation of the fifth Buddhist precept (prohibiting intoxication) during a murder scene. They also raised concerns about the actors playing novices all having eyebrows, as monks are required to shave their body hair before ordination.

Some of the censors’ concerns are in line with the censorship of previous Thai films featuring Buddhist monks: Karma, for example, was also censored for its misbehaving monks and for physical contact between a monk and a woman. (Thai Cinema Uncensored discusses the almost 100-year relationship between Buddhism and banned films.) The censors’ objection to the novices’ eyebrows, on the other hand, seems over-sensitive and inconsistent. Mario Maurer, for instance, was not required to shave his eyebrows for his starring role as a monk in The Outrage (อุโมงค์ผาเมือง).

Hoon Payon

Hoon Payon had its premiere at Major Cineplex Ratchayothin on 7th March, followed by a Q&A with director Phontharis Chotkijsadarsopon. Its theatrical release is now on hold, as the studio considers the censors’ verdict. Even if the required cuts were made, the film would receive a restrictive ‘20’ rating, requiring audiences to show ID before admittance, which Phontharis described as crazy (“บบ้าตาย”) in a post on Facebook yesterday. The Thai Film Director Association issued a statement yesterday, calling for an amendment to the Film and Video Act designating the National Film and Video Committee as purely a ratings body without the authority to cut or ban films.

07 March 2023

Arcadia Rooftop Cinema

The Rooftop Cinema programme of open-air movie screenings at Bangkok’s Arcadia bar continues this weekend with another classic film. After 2001: A Space Odyssey, Die Hard, Un chien andalou (‘an Andalusian dog’), Blade Runner, and Videodrome—all screened in the past few months—comes Ridley Scott’s SF-horror masterpiece Alien, showing on 12th March.


Khana Ratsadon

A Thai man was jailed for two years today, after being convicted of lèse-majesté for distributing a calendar featuring a cartoon duck. The 2021 desk calendar, published by the Khana Ratsadon pro-democracy protest group, was titled ปฏิทินพระราชทาน (‘royal calendar’), in what the police claimed was an attempt to imitate an official royal publication. The lèse-majesté conviction also related to five of the calendar’s cartoons, illustrating the months of January, March, April, May, and October. (The images cannot be reproduced or described, as this would constitute a repetition of the lèse-majesté offence.)

The convicted man was arrested on New Year’s Eve 2020, and he remains on bail pending an appeal. His lawyer had previously argued that the calendar was a parody of state institutions, and did not caricature King Rama X personally. This defence was always unlikely to succeed, though, given that the cartoon duck is depicted with a rather unambiguous “NO. 10” medal. The July and September cartoons, in particular, feature surprisingly thinly-veiled references to Rama IX and Rama X, respectively.

This is the fourth calendar to be confiscated by the Thai authorities in recent years. Wall calendars featuring photographs of former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawawtra were seized in 2018 and 2016. In 2010, a wall calendar by the beer company Leo was accused of promoting alcohol in contravention of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

Since the yellow duck calendar, there have been several other satirical cartoon animals in Thai popular culture. The cover of สมุดระบายสีเสรีภาพ (‘freedom colouring book’) shows an elephant painted blue, a colour with symbolic significance in Thailand. A monstrous spider that makes a split-second appearance in The Commoner’s music video รุ้ง (‘rainbow’) has a human face with a distinctive jawline.

The Greatest Films of All Time

Sight and Sound

Last year, Sight and Sound published the results of its Greatest Films of All Time survey. Ever since 1952, the magazine has polled film critics around the world every ten years, to compile authoritative lists of the ten greatest films ever made. In 2012, for the first time, they expanded their list to include 100 titles, and their 2022 poll was also initially published as a list of 100 films. Now, last year’s list has been expanded further, to 250 films, printed as a checklist on pp. 50–53 of the new April issue (vol. 33, no. 3).

27 February 2023


Fear Primitive

Manit Sriwanichpoom’s photography exhibition Fear (กลัว), held in Bangkok and Singapore in 2016, documented the volatile political atmosphere in Thailand prior to the 2014 coup, and the initial period following the junta’s takeover. The excellent accompanying catalogue remains a valuable record of a timely yet politically sensitive exhibition.

Discussing the title, Fear, in a short interview published in the catalogue, Manit explains that “today’s great fear is over something we can’t discuss aloud.” This has echoes of Taiki Sakpisit’s short film The Age of Anxiety (รอ ๑๐), which addressed the fear of the death of King Rama IX in the twilight of his reign. The link is reinforced by the catalogue’s cover image: a photograph of an 1868 solar eclipse predicted by King Rama IV shortly before his death.

Manit bravely included large-scale portraits of NCPO and NLA members (the coup leaders and the legislators they appointed), pixellated to obscure their identities. Though their individuality is denied, their uniforms are still visible, presenting them en masse as a faceless—and therefore inhuman—authoritarian entity. Similarly, screengrabs of technical glitches during coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha’s first televised Return Happiness to the People (คืนความสุข ให้คนในชาติ) speech highlight the vulnerability behind the propaganda façade.

Although Manit satirised the junta’s populist propaganda, he was also critical of the government overthrown by the coup, and he endorsed the PDRC protesters who laid the groundwork for the military takeover. The catalogue describes the legacy of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, subject of another photo series, as something “we now long to forget.” Introducing photographs of police vehicles vandalised beyond repair by the PDRC, the catalogue even claims: “these cars were not destroyed; merely overturned and coloured... They could still be saved to run upright again.”

The most powerful work in the Fear exhibition was the short video Primitive (ป่าเถื่อน), a montage of sixty-five photographs of bloodstains on the base of Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, accompanied by plaintive cello music. These dark red smears—one of which appears on the back cover of the catalogue—are grisly reminders of an attack on PDRC protesters on 15th May 2014, when three people were killed by unknown assailants heavily armed with M79 grenade launchers and M16 automatic rifles.

The Visible Woman:
Selected Works of Chantal Akerman

The Thai Film Archive in Salaya will hold a mini retrospective of films by Chantal Akerman on 23rd April. The Visible Woman: Selected Works of Chantal Akerman begins with a rare screening of the director’s feminist masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, which was recently voted the greatest film of all time in a poll conducted by Sight and Sound magazine.

เปี๊ยกโปสเตอร์ 90+

เปี๊ยกโปสเตอร์ 90+ (‘Piak Poster 90+’), an exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of director Somboonsuk Niyomsiri, opened at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya on 18th October last year and runs until 19th March. The exhibition is accompanied by a retrospective of Somboonsuk’s films, culminating with screenings of his classic debut feature A Man Called Tone (โทน) on 7th and 19th March.

The release of A Man Called Tone in 1970 was a turning point in Thai cinema history. Filmed in widescreen 35mm, it marked the end of the 16mm era, a formulaic mode of production that had dominated the industry for the previous twenty years. Stylistically, its modern approach to characterisation, acting, narrative, music, and cinematography was equally groundbreaking. It was shown last year at Doc Club and Pub in Bangkok, though a gala screening at the Scala cinema in 2020 was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Somboonsuk, known as Piak Poster, is also one of Thailand’s most prolific poster artists, and those who emerged after him were either taught by him or influenced by his style. He ran his studio like a Renaissance workshop, creating posters bearing the master’s signature—effectively a brand logo for his studio—yet produced by apprentices under his supervision. The poster for A Man Called Tone, for example, is signed by Somboonsuk though it was painted by Banhan Thaitanaboon.

23 February 2023


Rap Against Dictatorship released their latest single, Sunflower (ดอกทานตะวัน), this morning. As a ballad, it’s quite a departure for the group, though it’s just as political as their previous singles My Country Has (ประเทศกูมี), 250 Bootlickers (250 สอพลอ), Homeland (บ้านเกิดเมืองนอน), Burning Sky (ไฟไหม้ฟ้า), Budget (งบประมาณ), กอ เอ๋ย กอ กราบ (‘k is for krap’), Reform (ปฏิรูป), Ta Lu Fah (ทะลุฟ้า), and 16 ปีแล้วไอ้สัส (‘it’s been 16 years, ai sat’).

Sunflower is named after Tantawan Tuatulanon, a pro-democracy protester whose first name means ‘sunflower’ in Thai. Tantawan and another protester, Orawan Phuphong, went on hunger strike on 18th January in solidarity with lèse-majesté suspects facing pre-trial detention. They were themselves charged with lèse-majesté last year, after conducting an opinion poll asking whether royal motorcades caused inconvenience. They voluntarily revoked their own bail last month, and called for the abolition of the lèse-majesté law.

The song, performed by 3bone (who was also featured on Ta Lu Fah), refers to the hunger strike—“กับน้ำที่เทเพื่อให้ได้ดื่มกับสารอาหารที่ขาด” (‘having water to drink but no nutrition’)—and, indirectly, to royal motorcades: “รถที่ติดชนชั้นระหว่างผู้คนข้างทางรถนำขบวนที่ฝ่า” (‘traffic jams while a convoy passes by’). Similarly, The Commoner released a single dedicated to another protester, Panusaya Sithjirawattanakul, who also went on hunger strike, in 2021.

Tomorrow I Fuck with Yesterday Now!

Koraphat Cheeradit’s fascinating new short film begins with a young man stumbling around in a woodland. The aimless protagonist is filmed in a continuous take, with double-exposures constantly fading in and out. Birdsong and other bucolic, ambient sounds soon give way to a non-diegetic locomotive on the soundtrack, which gradually rises to a crescendo. Visually, this is matched by bursts of rapid-fire shots, each lasting for only a single frame, that are perceived only subliminally.

Some of these inserts are faux-naïf: white doves and heart emojis, symbolising peace and love. Other flash frames are more extreme: Koraphat juxtaposes sex and violence in split-second montages of anatomical drawings, erections, Ukrainian war casualties in Bucha, Nazi troops, and riot police firing water cannon at Thai protesters. These blink-and-you’ll-miss-them transgressions are in keeping with the film’s outré, Beam Wong-esque title: Tomorrow I Fuck with Yesterday Now! (ฉันแต่งงานกับปัจจุบัน ช่วยตัวเองด้วยเมื่อวาน และมีเพศสัมพันธ์กับวันพรุ่งนี้).