On today’s show Greg and Ed address a pretty simple question: When you see Bangkok in movies and in series, are you actually seeing an accurate portrayal of the way Bangkok REALLY is? The guys decide that the short answer is probably not (certainly not in Thai lakorn), but there are some interesting exceptions. For example, even big-budget movies such as “Hangover 2” and “Raya and the Last Dragon” get many details right, such as Fanta served in a plastic bag or ‘toilet paper’ (to Westerners) used as napkins on the dinner table. 

Also, some shows (especially Western ones) get some facts correct but over-emphasize them. Yes, Thailand does have elephants, prostitutes, and transexuals – but not EVERY story needs to include them. 

Greg then raises the elephant (heh heh, get it? we’re in Thailand) in the room: foreign productions in Thailand are censored before they are made, and Thai productions are censored after they are made. So, in general, no direct showing of corruption among the monkhood, police or army, government officials, and certainly no mention of the monarchy. Because of these strict guard rails, it’s almost impossible to accurately portray Thai society from within the country.

Ed then laments the lack of a ‘realist’ cinema in Thailand, akin to the gritty dramas of the Hollywood of the 70s. Where are the Godfathers, Serpicos, and Taxi Drivers of Thai cinema? No one knows the answer to that question but both guys bring up various Thai movies and series that have flirted with realism in one way or another, including ‘The Serpent,’ ‘Hormones,’ ‘Changeland,’ ‘Girl From Nowhere,’ and, recently, ‘Bangkok Breaking.’ Hope springs eternal. Maybe. We guess. We hope. 

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