18 November, 12.30pm – 2.30pm, SOAS Khalili Theatre
Screening and panel discussion by Rachel Harrison and Loredana Paracciani
The screening and panel discussion Dividing Lines rests its focus on the social and political uncertainty that permeates everyday life in Thailand, and also examines its ideological and geographical divides. To do so Dividing Lines takes its cue from the contentious issues highlighted in the documentary Boundary by director Nontawat Numbenchapol. The film was released in movie theatres in Thailand in 2013, prior to the 2014 coup d’état that culminated in the ”Red versus Yellow” schism that has divided the country from the early 21st century. Through the eyes of Aod, a young man from Sisaket, a northeastern province in Thailand that borders with Cambodia, Boundary also focuses on crucial issues of borderland supremacy and territorial disputes between neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia.
Whether by narrating a personal experience, as addressed by the film, or that of a specific community, the screening and panel discussion among lecturers and organisers Rachel Harrison and Loredana Paracciani, and film director Nontawat Numbenchapol, address issues of divisiveness, both ideological or geographical, in a historical and social perspective to reconsider Thai culture within the wider global, contemporary context.
96 minutes, HD, Colour, 2013 ,Thailand/Cambodia/France, Khmer and Thai with English subtitles
Everything began during the 2010 political crisis in Thailand. People in Bangkok were talking about the protest of the Red Shirts with a different point of view. I was working in a local film production. In the production, I met Aod, a young man from Sisaket, a Northeastern province in Thailand that borders Cambodia and Preah Vihear Temple. Aod can speak Khmer. During his military service, he was sent to the South to fight the separatists, and was sent to Bangkok to dissolve the Red Shirts protesters in 2010. After he was discharged from the army, he went back to his hometown. As I am Bangkokian, I want to understand the people living in the actual place where the conflict occured. That is the reason I followed Aod to his hometown and made this film.
Before the border conflict, people over there lived peacefully. The conflict reappeared again during the political conflict in Thailand. There were protests in Bangkok for this issue. I don’t know if the protesters want to reclaim the temple, or they just want to attack their political opponent.
Boundary is the imaginary line we marked it down to separate the area. Boundary disputes happen anywhere. I believe that people living in the border area are the same group of people. They share the same culture, language and tradition, but from different political policy or many other reasons, the boundary was made to separate them.
This film was made to express my feeling toward ‘Boundary’, not just territorial boundary, but also the boundary between social classes, between birth and death, and between happiness and sorrow