Thai director, Ing K is no stranger to controversy. Her documentary 'Citizen Juling' explored the
violence in the deep south of Thailand, an extremely delicate subject that few had ever dared to take on. It
was screened at Toronto and Berlin film festivals, and critically praised. The New York Times called it
'powerful and compelling'.
Then Ing K started work on a dramatic project - an adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. This
would be the first time that a Thai film had attempted a work of Shakespeare, and Ing K brought the classic
play into a modern setting, telling the story of a theatre group in a fictional country staging a production of
However, when the film was screened for the official censors (as required by law), it was promptly
banned, on the grounds that it 'has content that causes divisiveness among the people of the nation'.
One could only guess at the real reason for the ban. Some even wondered if a certain ex-Prime
Minister of Thailand, now overseas, might have objected to the film's depiction of an ambitious general
murdering his way to supreme power, and exerted influence.
The ban made international news, and director Ing K and Producer Manit Sriwanichpoom made clear
their frustration. Ing K said, "I feel like we are heading to a very dark, dark place right now, a place full of
fears and everyone has to be extra careful about what they say."
There were many ironies in the situation; firstly of course the fact that the source material was written
four hundred years ago, and has been performed in practically every country in the world; but also that the
same Ministry of Culture that banned the film had also partially funded the film.
What followed was a Kafka-esque struggle by Producer Manit Sriwanichpoom to have the ban lifted.
This took him through the byzantine corridors of power from the Ministry of Culture to the Senate and the
Human Rights Commission, all the way to the Administrative Court.
Wherever he went, a camera followed him, recording the fight for artistic freedom.
This footage was edited to produce 'Censor Must Die'.
'Shakespeare Must Die' currently remains banned, and we unfortunately cannot show it at FGC.
However, 'Censor Must Die' has been judged as 'exempted from the film censorship process'
Ing K and Manit hoped that the documentary would be released in cinemas, however at this point no
cinema chain has agreed to show it.
We are extremely proud to be able to bring this extraordinary story to the Friese-Greene Club.
Whilst the depicted struggles are frustrating, shocking, and sometimes heartbreaking, the journey the
filmmakers have to endure, and the characters they encounter are often pure farce.