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THEME OF BUDDHISM THAI MOVIES

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Theme of Buddhism is present in Thai movies. It is also called "monk genre". Some movies deal about Buddhist monks as main character. Buddhist monks are often a main character in Thai horror movies. They often help in order to get rid of powerful ghosts and villagers seek them for help and guidance. Despite Thai Buddhism has experienced chaos and crisis since the 1980s, Thai Censorship Board still strictly applies the Buddhist precepts and, in year 2006, objected to depictions of a Buddhist monk playing guitar in movie "Syndromes and a Century" from Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

หลวงตา
หลวงตา

Year: 1980

Thai title: หลวงตา
English title:

Rating: 3/5
Director: Permpol Choei-arun

Main actor: Jatuphol Poopirom,Lor Tok,Rong Kaomulkadee
Main actress: Supansa Nuengpirom,Mayurachath Muarnprasitivej,Tharika Thidathip

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It shows the importance of Buddhist abbots in Thai society. A young man, without parents and who has always lived in temples ("DEK WAT" - เด็กวัด), is in love with a young woman. Her parents don't want a poor groom. Hopefully the abbot is here...

ขุนเดช
ขุนเดช

Year: 1980

Thai title: ขุนเดช
English title:

Rating: 4/5
Director:

Main actor: Sombat Methanee,Manop Aussawathep,Sompong Phonmitr,Pumi Patanayut,Somjin Thammatat
Main actress: Pornpan Ketmamatsu

Thai movie ขุนเดช was released in year 1980. It takes place in Sukhothai historical park area before it became an official park (1988) as there was still heavy vegetation around the Buddha statues. The movie lasts 1h46mn. This movie was only released under VHS in Thailand and Sweden. Two men are killed by Khun Det (Sombat Methanee) as they are digging in order to steal Buddhist artifacts. Ruffians arrive in the village and hire farmers to dig around in order to find relics. Village leader (ผู้ใหญ่) Sompong (Sompong Phonmitr) refuses to help as it is ancestor's' heritage so it shall not be sold to strangers. Sompong has a mute daughter (Pornpan Ketmamatsu). The leader (เจ้านาย)(ภูมิ พัฒนายุทธ) is looking for Buddha statues (พระสักองค์). Sompong informs the temple abbot that the ruffians even dig near old sacred pagodas but nothing the abbot can do (สัตว์นรก). Khun Det, aware, chases away the workers. Khun Det is then captured, crucified and suspended to a headless Buddha giant statue. Khun Det is rescued by Sompong and his daughter. Khun Det repairs an old gun (ปืนเก่า). As the ruffians are evacuating Buddha statues by boat, Khun Det sinks the boat thanks to his gun. It reminds the scene of Naresuan 2 with the King shooting very far away with a gun to defeat the Burmese king. The leader, seeing that Khun Det is bringing them serious troubles again decide to flee by car with some Buddha statues. Khun Det prevents him to flee by destroying his car and killing him. The father (Somjin Thammatat), in ire as his son is dead, storms the village with ruffians but is unable to find Khun Det. They burn belongings of villagers and threaten the abbot. The father destroys pagodas and tries to bury a big Buddha statue. Khun Det prevents them so the father finally calls Manop Aussawathep, a professional killer. He shots Sompong. This movie also reminds of western such as “The Magnificent Seven” with people protect villagers against ruffians as there is no police. Manop then buries men alive to force Khun Det to show himself. The villagers fight back. The father and his ruffians are killed. Khun Det defeats Manop through an epic final fight. It is a strong movie with violent deaths (heads cut as ruffians cut Buddha statues’ heads). Khun Det finally leaves. A Thai serie ขุนเดช was released in year 1999 with Phongphat Wachirabanjong. Another version was released in year 2012.

หลวงตา 2
หลวงตา 2

Year: 1982

Thai title: หลวงตา 2
English title:

Rating: 3/5
Director: Permpol Choei-arun

Main actor: Lor Tok,Sorapong Chatree
Main actress:

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This second opus shows the importance of Buddhist abbots and village headmen ("KAMNAN" - กำนัน) in Thai society. A turbulent young man has been sent by his father in a temple to receive a good education. He still misbehaves and flees with a young lady. Hopefully the village headman and the abbot are here to ease tension and solve issues. It emphasizes the cooperation of all generations to solve village problems.

หลวงตาน้อยธุดงค์ชายแดน
หลวงตาน้อยธุดงค์ชายแดน

Year: 1985

Thai title: หลวงตาน้อยธุดงค์ชายแดน
English title: Luang Ta Noi

Rating: 1/5
Director: Permpol Choei-arun

Main actor: Lor Tok
Main actress:

Three comics are doing shows on the street and ask for tip money. They found a suitcase full of banknotes on the street. They give it back to the owner and refuse any reward. The owner, called Truat, is impressed by their kind heart, so recruits them. Truat is sick and doctor tells him he doesn't have a lot of time left to live. He asks them to get a specific medicine for him. If they don't help him, he will give all his heritage to social organizations. He has only half of the paper giving hints on this medecine. The other part is located in Pattaya with a psychic called "Chi Fat". Then they now need to find a beggar, later on a girl named Madonna. Then they faced two brigands groups (Red versus Yellow) wishing to get their money. Then they help a man following a weird operation in hospital. They find love during their quest of the medecine paper. This is a typical Thai weak comedy from the 1980s decade with a "katoey" (กะเทย) in the funny and silly role. The cover is not matching the movie inside the VCD made by Lepso company. The beginning of the movie is scrapped so only the actors names are displayed and not even the movie title. Luang Ta Noi is supposed to be part of the Luang Ta movie series (หลวงตา) done by famous director Permpol Choei-arun.

คนทรงเจ้า
คนทรงเจ้า

Year: 1989

Thai title: คนทรงเจ้า
English title: Silhouette of god

Rating: 5/5
Director:

Main actor: Santisuk Promsiri
Main actress: Jintara Sookkapat,Paweena Chareefsakul

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Thai movie คนทรงเจ้า / Silhouette of god was released in year 1989 and lasts 1h58mn. Kam (Santisuk Promsiri) is married with one kid. As the river near their house starts to flood, he has to put his livestock in a safer place. He puts them near a shrine (เจ้าพ่อ) on a land which belongs to him as he rents it. Villager Mek is upset as it is near a sacred shrine (ที่ศักดิ์สิทธิ์). Mek asks the spirit to help him to seduce Pagna (น้องพงา) (Jintara Sookkapat), daughter of Phujai. Phujai asks Kam to remove his animals but Kam refuses as he doesn't believe in spirits (ไม่นับถือ). His son falls in the water and dies. Villagers say it is the spirit's revenge. Kam refuses to believe and decides to cut the tree. Maybe due to insolation or spirit's action, he loses conscience on the first attempt to cut the tree. Still stubborn (ไม่ยอม), he finally attaches his buffaloes near the tree. One evening as a storm is happening, his wife starts to give birth but it doesn't happen well despite the local midwife's help. Unable to help, she asks him to pay allegiance to the spirit (แก้บน) to save his wife. Kam promises to be a medium (คนทรอง) for the tree spirit. It looks like Kam still wishes the tree spirit and the villagers to pay for the bad sins they caused to him. Mek's wife, Phayia, wishes to find a way to get her husband back as he is now fond of Pagna. The spirit tells that her real life love (คู่ชีวิต) is Kam and makes some filter for her to get back her husband. Finally Kam and Phayia become lovers. Mek, upset that his wife Phayia (พเยีย) often visits the spirit medium, suspects a relationship between them (ชู้กับเมียเขา) but is unable to catch them. He believes Kam is lying (หลอกลวง) to villagers, indulges in alcohol and wishes to kill Kam. Meanwhile Phujai benefits from the money given as donations to the spirit medium. The spirit performs ceremony to change people’s bad luck (สะเดาะเคราะห์). Phujai wishes his daughter to win Songkran beauty contest in order to be an "angel" (เทพิ) and to find a rich husband for her. Phujai uses a weak minded man to get rid of Mek. Kam's wife is happy being rich and doesn't care about the relationship of Kam with other women. Phujai is worried being accused that he masterminded Mek's death. Kam convinces him to hide deeply in the jungle. Then Kam selects 4 servants (บริวาร), i.e. Mek's former wife (Phayia), Phujai's daughter (Pagna), his own wife and the midwife's niece. All his former enemies are neutralised. This movie got five Thai cinema awards and lets the viewer still wondering if Kam is acting or really possessed. The Culture Ministry registers 25 Thai classic films each year at the National Film Heritage Registry. This movie is part of the 25 films heritage list announced on 04 October 2014, which is Thai Movies Conservation Day.

หลวงตา 3 สีกาข้างวัด
หลวงตา 3 สีกาข้างวัด

Year: 1991

Thai title: หลวงตา 3 สีกาข้างวัด
English title:

Rating: 3/5
Director: Permpol Choei-arun

Main actor: Lor Tok,Kiet Kijcharouen,Rong Kaomulkadee
Main actress: Chamaiporn Jaturaput

Thai movie หลวงตา 3 สีกาข้างวัด was released in year 1991. As it is linked to Buddhist religion, the story is sensible as based on a real story (อดีตพระนิกร-สีกาอร). The movie was even censored and cut a few times. Lor Tok is playing Luang Ta again. Waen (Kiet Kijcharouen) and Biu are playing temple boys (เด็กวัด) roles. Veteran actress Chamaiporn Jaturaput is playing a market woman (แม่ค้า). Luang Ta is always helping and listening to his community. He also faces various problems of daily life with its lies (people asking for money to ordain but claiming later that money disappears...). Oratai's elder sister, Phiya, is a nun (แม่ชี). She quit her home as her father was a drunkard. She ended up working in a brothel. Luang Ta visits a buddhist temple with Biu and Oratai. The monk there is having a huge number of followers and claims having been in paradise and hell already. Speech competition (เทศ) happens between the two monks. The monk (เณร) proposes to Oratai to be his follower (ลูกศิษย์). Oratai accepts. Later on, the monk is looking for opportunities to be alone with Oratai. Biu and Wen always disturb Phiya as Biu is fond of her. Luang Ta uses a funny stratagem to ensure they stop disturbing Phiya (สงบ). The monk gets massage despite still being young. Phiya, worried about her sister Oratai (สีกา), wishes to get her back (ชาวบ้านนินทา). A monk staying alone with woman is incorrect. It tarnishes Buddhism reputation as religion (เรื่องไม่ดีไม่งาม). Phiya, unable to get back her sister, consults Luang Ta. Luang Ta asks help from a senior monk in the hierarchy. Finally Oratai goes back to her sister. Some followers of this monk are upset about Luang Ta and his friends. They wish to kill them. If the monk is defrocked, then they will lose the good life they get through the money coming from donation! (คนชั่ว). They finally get arrested by the police. Oratai becomes a nun (แม่ชี) also. The movie ends up with compassion message as the market woman educates 4 children that are not hers. Director is Permpol Choei-arun famous for his drama and social movies.

หลวงตา
หลวงตา

Year: 2000

Thai title: หลวงตา
English title: Luang Ta

Rating: 4/5
Director: Parkpoom Wongpoom

Main actor:
Main actress:

This 8-minute short film was done by Parkpoom Wongpoom, who also directed "Shutter", Thai box office hit horror movie in year 2004. A couple and their boy ask for permission to stay in a Buddhist temple as they are poor. The abbot, who is paraplegic, gives his authorization. During every morning alms, the father and his son accompany the abbot to receive people donations. Many people give money as they wish the abbot to recover. The father keeps part of the money and then the son brings an envelop with the remaining money to the abbot. The son is shocked as it is bad deed to rob money from monks. He decides to hide some money and put it back in the envelop for the abbot. One day he surprises the abbot walking by him-self to check the money amount. This short film highlights the modern corrupted society with a father showing bad pattern to his son and an abbot lying to his followers to get more donations. Real life is cruel...

โอเคเบตง
โอเคเบตง

Year: 2003

Thai title: โอเคเบตง
English title: OK Baytong

Rating: 4/5
Director: Nonzee Nimitbut

Main actor:
Main actress:

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Tum is a Buddhist monk for 27 years. When his sister is killed in a terrorist explosion on a train in the south of Thailand, he decided to disrobe in order to look after his niece. Once in the city, Tum has to learn a new life. Living above his sister's hair salon, he is confronted with a new world he knows nothing about, i.e. cell phones, drinking, sex, love, trousers with zip, to ride a bicycle, to work. This movie also raises Buddhist versus Muslim themes.

หลวงพี่เท่ง
หลวงพี่เท่ง

Year: 2005

Thai title: หลวงพี่เท่ง
English title: The Holy Man

Rating: 3/5
Director: Note Chernyim

Main actor: Pongsak Pongsuwan,Note Chernyim,Somchai Sakdikul
Main actress:

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A bad-boy-turned monk is trying to bring back the Buddhist faith to villagers. He is facing opposition from a local mafia boss using his daughter as a fake spirit medium. This simple but entertaining comedy was the second-biggest-grossing movie of the year 2005 with a Bt141 million in ticket revenues.

มากับพระ
มากับพระ

Year: 2006

Thai title: มากับพระ
English title: The Golden Riders

Rating: 3/5
Director:

Main actor: Noppadol Duangporn
Main actress:

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One novice, one young man and one lady are in a train heading to Chiang Rai. The novice is going to famous Buddhist temple "Wat Tham Pa Archa Thong" where monks ride horses. The lady, called Tengmo, is heartbroken and goes back to her parent's home. She is the daughter of a local district officer. The young man called Phon has been laid off and is going for a break. The novice is from Bangkok has difficulty to get used to the life inside the temple. The abbot is very demanding. He is working with the two young people to teach local mountain people to get rid of debts but the local district officer doesn't appreciate their action. This comedy illustrates the decline of the role of Buddhist monks as sacred and unchallengeable in Thai movies. The abbot is still a model but his monks sometimes forget the Buddhist rules through a comic way. The local district officer combines with a former soldier, who claims he has hidden gold ingots inside the ground where the temple is now built. Pressure is done on abbot to move his temple to another location but finally no gold can be found. The gold was found previously by a monk and used to build a big Buddha statue (same story as Wat Traimit).

หลวงพี่เท่ง 2 รุ่นฮาร่ำรวย
หลวงพี่เท่ง 2 รุ่นฮาร่ำรวย

Year: 2008

Thai title: หลวงพี่เท่ง 2 รุ่นฮาร่ำรวย
English title: The Holy man 2

Rating: 3/5
Director:

Main actor: Joey Boy
Main actress:

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The Holy man 2 is a follow up to the hit 2005 comedy. Rapper Joey Boy has the lead role as a young monk bringing his wisdom to a remote village. Luang Phi Teng has gone to Tibet. Luang Phi Tet replaces him and has decided to go "thudong" as a forest monk but faces many misfortunes. He finally arrives to a temple close to a quarry. Every time there are explosions in the mountain, the temple is damaged with debris and monks have to wear helmets. It is based on a real 2006 news: "there is a temple in Pak Tho district, where the monks wear crash helmets during evening prayers to protect them from the daily rain of stones; the quarry had continued rock blasting even though the provincial governor imposed a temporary ban on its operations near the temple after a monk was injured". Luang Phi Tet updates the way to say sermon. The abbot is singing "Luuk Thung" (ลูกทุ่ง) but Luang Phi Tet uses Thai hip hop. Luang Phi Tet wants also to stop the quarry explosions but he faces the refusal from the abbot as the previous monk, who tried before, died. Luang Phi Tet succeeds to unify the local Christian, Muslim and Buddhist community to enforce and protect the village against quarry debris. His dedication as a "development monk" (พระนักพัฒนะ) causes the quarry owner's ire and this latter uses a hit man to kill Luang Phi Tet but he misses his target. Luang Phi Tet then gather all villagers to challenge the quarry owner and he succeeds to win. This story through comic episodes deliver messages related to Thai culture and society, tolerance (all religions can live together and support each other), fight against corrupted men (nobody is above the law).

หลวงพี่กับผีขนุน
หลวงพี่กับผีขนุน

Year: 2009

Thai title: หลวงพี่กับผีขนุน
English title:

Rating: 4/5
Director:

Main actor: Mum Jokmok
Main actress:

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Seua is a sales manager, who acts badly in his life. He takes advantages of old people to sell them expensive goods and services. Following customers' complains, police tries to catch him. He flees to his home town, where his mother has found a wife for him but he has to become a Buddhist monk first. He has difficulty to get used to monk life (walk bare foot, eat whatever people offer you during morning alms, no comb...). At the same time, an egoist and rapacious old lady died in the village while trying to catch a jackfruit (ขนุน). Her ghost frightens all the villagers when they try to eat her jackfruit! Seua has to find solutions as the temple abbot is on trip. Seua starts to change his mind and behavior (promise to take care about his old mother, be nice to others, doesn't disrobe despite difficulties in order to help the villagers, understanding that ordination rite is an act towards the others - parents and community -). The ghost finally accepts its death. The police officer, understanding that Seua has changed his mindset, doesn't catch him. Seua finally marries a woman he truly loves.

โยมผีพ่อ
โยมผีพ่อ

Year: 2009

Thai title: โยมผีพ่อ
English title: Yom-Pee-Poa

Rating: 2/5
Director:

Main actor: Kiet Kijcharouen,Suchao Pongwilai,Jaturong Mokjok
Main actress: Naowarat Yooktanun

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A turbulent boy, called Yung, becomes a Buddhist novice. It is a relief for the village as this boy spent his time annoying villagers. A ghost is seen inside the village Buddhist temple. Villagers use talismans (ของดี) to protect themselves against the ghost. The ghost, called Tik, is pacifist and even funny (ผีตลก). Tik is Yung's father. He requests his son to find his wife (Yung's mother) with whom he misbehaves before. They are going to Bangkok. The mother, called Tom, is working in a Karaoke. Tik cannot rebirth (เกิดใหม่) if Tom doesn't forgive him. Chao, Tom's father, tries to help. Tom is protected by a mafia boss. The mafia boss shots Tom. Both Tom and Tik can rebirth happily. This movie is another ghost comedy with Buddhist monks. This comedy includes visual gags, sonorous gags, witty riposte in dialogues. It is targeted for a rural audience public. This movie messages are related to gratitude (กตัญญ) over parents and to always try and never give up. It is a typical comedy movie of 2000s decade, i.e. quite pleasant to see (หายความเครียด) but immediately forgotten.

นาคปรก
นาคปรก

Year: 2010

Thai title: นาคปรก
English title: In the shadow of Naga

Rating: 5/5
Director: Pawat Pawangkasiri

Main actor: Ray McDonald,Sahat Piempongsan,Somchai Khemklad
Main actress: Intira Jaroenpura

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7 millions of baht have been hidden following a robbery. One of the robber is called Sing. His girlfriend is a prostitute. The police raids the illegal casino (บ่อน) she is staying in. They are looking for Sing but she doesn't know where he is hiding. The money has been hidden in a Buddhist temple. The three robbers come back to the temple but a chapel (โบสถ์) has been constructed on the top of the cache. They need to dig (ต้องขุด) but as it takes time, the only way is to become monk (ต้องบวช) in order to be able to stay in the temple. Sing points his gun to the abbot to force the ordination. Sing and Dang ordinate (เป็นพระ). Pong prefers to remain as a temple boy. Sing and Pong behave badly as monk, i.e. chase dog with feet, say bad words, don't follow closely the temple rules (ระเบียบของวัด), smoke, hit novice (เณร), don't pray before eating. Sing is atheist and calls the abbot as 'boss' instead of เจ้าอาวาส. At night time, they dig. The morning arrives earlier than expected. They need to hit the temple gong (ระฆัง), need to say blessings. The abbot has to justify their inexperience by mentioning they are new monks (พระบวชใหม่) from Thudong order (พระธุดงค์). Sing cannot support the food at lunch time made of alms donation (ฉันเพื่ออยู่ไม่ใช้อยู่เพื่อฉัน). The abbot is also doing tatoos. Pong asks for tatoos also (ศาสนาพุทธศักดิ์สิทธิ์เกิน ดีกว่าคุณทำร้ายได้). Sing is still complaining. His feet hurt as he is not used to walk bare foot. Life prison was easier. Food is not good. Earlier they promised to share 50% of the money with a fourth unknown man. The abbot has money on him and doesn't hesitate to touch a woman bitten by a snake. Dang and Sing hit badly robbers who were trying to steal Buddha statues in order to protect their secret digging activities inside the chapel. They lie to villagers (หลอกชาวบ้าน). They know they are wrong but still do wrong (รู้ว่าทำผิดแต่ยังทำผิด). Sing misses his girlfriend Nam Peung so he invites her to join him to Wat Pa Lom but she refuses believing it is another bad joke from Sing (ช่วยตัวเองก็แล้วกัน). Believing it can be good for her karma, she finally visits the temple and finds Sing as a monk (หลวงพี่). Sings removes his monk robe to make love to Nam Peung. Sing breaches all Buddhist precepts and brings trouble to the temple community. Pong is a good guy and explains to the abbot what happens before. They did a bank robbery (ปล้นเงิน) and hide the money inside the temple's chapel. Pong wanted to help his blind mother. He has lengthy discussion with the abbot about Buddhism (It is possible to teach some people to be good, it is more difficult with some others สอนให้เป็นคนดีบางคนสอนได้บางคนสอนยาก - Badness is easier to do than goodness / ความชั่วทำง่ายความดียทำยาก). Being discovered by other monks, Sing and Dang threathen to kill the monks if they don't help to dig. At morning time, they need to go for alms (เป็นเวลาบิณฑบาตร). If they don't go, they will have nothing to eat. Today is Makabucha day so local people are coming for offerings (บูชา) and listen to sermon (ฟังเทศน์). Dang decides to give them a poignant sermon regarding children working far away from parents to send them money and encourage parents to teach well their kids (สอนลูกดีดี - กตัญญู) to avoid becoming bad guy like him. While digging, they find a cache but no money. Sing starts to break the main Buddha statue. There is a small golden statue inside. A police inspector enters the chapel. Nam Peung was keeping the police inspector informed. He is a corrupted cop asking for his share. They shot at each other. The police inspector is hit. Dang is hit also. Nam Peung hits Sing, who was going to shoot the abbot. Nam Peung finds the money bag in the base of the Buddha statue but it is empty. She prefers to suicide herself instead of surrending to the police. The abbot takes the responsability on him (ผิดเอง). Pong is arrested. 4 years passed. Pong is doing ordination for his blind mother, who cries when holding the yellow robes (ผ้าเหลือง). The former abbot has defrocked. He has now a wife and a child. He is driving a Mercedes car. He comes back to get the golden Buddha statue. He was the one who kept the money. He is finally arrested and the statue is restituted to the temple. After 3 years waiting for the new film law to avoid a ban, this movie was finally released uncut with a Rate 18+. Making a story with bad monks is strong for the local Thai audience as faith and crime are always taboo in Thai films. There is a comparison between the four characters and the four types of lotus in Buddhism (บัวประเภทไหน).

9 วัด
9 วัด

Year: 2010

Thai title: 9 วัด
English title: Secret Sunday

Rating: 5/5
Director:

Main actor:
Main actress: Penpak Sirikul

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Nat has a blondish girlfriend Poon. She has often ghosts visions. They get an invitation to go to Chiang Mai. On the way, they stop to visit Nat's mother. Nat's mother has a bad dream. She frequently visits temples and would like her son to make merit (ทำบุญ) in nine temples (9 วัด). Nat needs to clean his karma by doing merit. There is a strong opposition between the old style mum (แม่โบราณ) and the young modern woman, Poon. Nat finally accepts his mother's request. He meets a monk, who was a childhood friend. The monk goes with them for the nine temples visit. Nat and Poon are young and modern youngsters, who don't know religion and how to show respect to monks (They always call him 'phra' - พระ - instead of 'Luang Phi' - หลวงพี่). Nat doesn't give respect to Buddha images (ไม่ไหว้พระใหญ่). They don't understand why the young man is going for the forest way of life (ธุดง) and how he can sleep in cemeteries (ป่าช้า). Nat is always hot tempered (ใจร้อน). Many warnings are given to them through visions and through the monk's remarks (ช่วยไม่ทันยิ่งทรมานเปล่าๆ). They face death, face accidents, see dead people and ghosts. Those are warnings to them. It is linked to their karma (กรรม) and they cannot escape it. Poon asks the monk's help but Nat refuses to believe up to the point they break up. They are followed up by terrible actions linked to her past. In previous life, they were linked to a young disfigured boy set prisoner in a remote forest hut by his mum as he killed her lover fearing to lose his mother. They finally get reunited and bring the monk to destination. Nat, Poon and Nat's mother share the same past and all come to the same house where the young boy was held prisoner. They need to do more merit (กุศล). The monk and Nat are born the same day. The mother tried to deceive the karma (หลอกกรรม) by interchanging the babies. Her real son is the monk. But the karma cannot be escaped. However it can be altered (กรรมเปลี่ยนไม่ได้แต่แก้ไขได้). Karma is following us (กรรมตาม). The monk is protected from karma by his yellow robe (ผ้าเหลือง) but not Nat. So he is the one to suffer. The monk pays for the past sins through redemption (ชดใช้) by giving his own life so the karma is over. Nat, Poon and the mother are being reunited as a family. The movie features a nice fresh soundtrack.

หลวงพี่เท่ง 3
หลวงพี่เท่ง 3

Year: 2010

Thai title: หลวงพี่เท่ง 3
English title: The Holy man 3

Rating: 3/5
Director:

Main actor: Krissada Sukosol,Note Chernyim,Akom Preedakul,Koeti Aramboy
Main actress:

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Noi decides to enter the monkhood (บวช) and rejects his rock star attitude. He is looking for calm (เอาความสงบ) as he is a stressed man. The abbot reminds him the analogy between a hose splashing randomly due to water pressure and the spirit always wandering. Funny gags happen when monks are going out for alms (บิณฑบาตร) due to small size comic actor Koeti Aramboy trying to offer food to a giant monk or when a man is still jealous that his wife has a sweet spot for the abbot since decades. As usual there are flatulence jokes when spicy and sour food is given to monks. Robbers steal the temple bell (ระฆัง). Later they come to steal the Buddha head (มาขโมยพระ). Monks are all drugged but hopefully the main Buddha statue (หลวงพ่อ) is not stolen as it is too heavy! The gang leader is a burlesque Chinese vendor. He uses false claims regarding the monks that they enter monkhood while leaving pregnant women behind them. Noi is smart enough to counter their lies. Actor Akom Preedakul is playing a funny Thai boxing trainer bringing coyote dancers to the temple! Similar to 1980s-1990s decade comedy ghost movies, there is an sequence about villagers fleeing ghosts. Unfortunately the Buddha statue head is cut and stolen by the Chinese gang. The giant monk disguises himself as soft real Bouddha statue (Luang Pho Nim - หลวงพ่อนิ่ม) as a trick to find their cache. Then Noi asks his former bikers friends for help. They are led by Ed carabao, real leader of famous Thai band Carabao. The robbers are captured and the Buddha head recovered.

ศพไม่เงียบ
ศพไม่เงียบ

Year: 2011

Thai title: ศพไม่เงียบ
English title: Mindfulness and Murder

Rating: 5/5
Director: Tom Waller

Main actor: Sithao Petcharoen
Main actress: Natalie Glebova

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An expensive Mercedes car driven by a young couple hits a motorbike causing the driver death. A call of the father to the police inspector makes him to release the son. Police inspector seems disillusioned. A dead body is found in the temple with a carrot in the mouth. Police is called. The same police inspector is coming. The police inspector doesn't want to investigate on such case as it is only a poor temple boy (เด็กวัดยากจน) who died. A senior monk called Ananda (หลวงพ่อ), who is a former policeman, decides to investigate why this young man called Noi died. Some monks are smoking in the temple and look like ruffians with their numerous tattoos. Luang Pho Ananda gets Noi’s remaining belongings and finds a note with a name. Some monks believe Noi was involved in drugs (ติดยา) as he has an expensive brand new phone. Luang Pho Ananda finds Noi’s aunt and discovers Noi had a sad life with a mother who hang herself. The temple abbot is giving advice on lottery numbers. Luang Pho Ananda has to investigate while continuing performing his duties (prayers, morning alms round). Luang Pho Ananda finds that one of the monks has left suddenly the Buddhist temple. So this monk called Bandit Tho becomes a suspect. Luang Pho Ananda also meets a Bangkokpost journalist investigating on drug traffic in his temple. Inquiry is also going on foot prints found near the dead body and a hand writing style. Luang Pho Ananda questions many monks including a monk smoking, another monk from Chiang Rai who slept with naked Noi as he felt lonely. There is difficulty to investigate in the Buddhist temple as the secret tradition remains strong. Luang Pho Ananda has to chase from the temple compound some youngsters selling drugs. It is found that Bandit Tho was an uncovered policeman investigating on drugs traffic in the temple. The expensive Buddhist amulet found on Noi's body is coming from Chiang Rai. It is weird as Noi was coming from Isan area. The abbot was aware of drug selling but kept the secret to avoid bad publicity to his temple. Noi's body has cigarette butt scars so it looks like he has been tortured before being killed. During Noi’s body creation it is found that it is not Noi’s corpse but Bandit Tho’s body, i.e. the monk who disappeared! Noi’s body is found inside the crematorium. it looks like somebody wished to burn incognito the two bodies at same time. Luang Pho Ananda is always accompanied with a young disabled temple boy called Jek. Luang Pho Ananda discovers that Bandit Tho was not a real policeman so causing ire to the local police head who threatens the abbot to stop donations to the temple. A dangerous snake is put in Luang Pho Ananda’s room. Despite all these threats, Luang Pho Ananda identifies the killer. His life is saved thanks to the young temple boy’s dedication. It is a great thriller Buddhist movie very realistic regarding life in a temple by showing bad things but also good things. It is good that the movie was not censored despite showing bad monks behavior. It got a 15-plus rating. It is a sign that Thai movies censorship is evolving. In 2006, Thai movie “Syndromes and a Century” (แสงศตวรรษ) was censored for much less controversial parts!

อุโมงค์ผาเมือง นางยั่วสวาท
อุโมงค์ผาเมือง นางยั่วสวาท

Year: 2011

Thai title: อุโมงค์ผาเมือง นางยั่วสวาท
English title: The Outrage

Rating: 5/5
Director: Pantewanop Tewakul

Main actor: Ananda Everingham,Phongphat Wachirabanjong,Mum Jokmok,Dom Hetrakul,Mario Maurer
Main actress: Chermarn Boonyasak

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A young monk Anoon goes to visit his father as wandering monk (พระธุดงค์). He recalls his life while walking home. He remembers his twin brother, Anan, whose wife died while delivering a baby. He wishes to disrobe (สึก) as he lost abilities to find answers to people regarding life. While wandering in the forest, he meets a noble couple on horse and palanquin. The husband is found later dead in the forest. Bandit Singkham is caught. Before being sentenced, he narrates the story. Bandit (โจรป้า) Singkham, seeing the beautiful lady in the palanquin, wishes to have her becoming his wife so he needs to get rid of the husband Khun Seuk (Ananda Everingham). He claims to have some golden swords to sell. It is a trick to knock out the husband and then kills all guards. He rapes her in front of the husband and she takes pleasure at it. He doesn't kill them but the lady complains the bandit doesn't give credit to their rank (เกียรติ). Singkham finally releases the husband and offers him a duel to avenge his honor. Despite being a strong swordsman, the husband is defeated by the smart forest bandit. During the trial, the wife also narrates her story. She was the daughter of a domestic servant. Khun Seuk was fond of her because of her beauty and married her four years ago. Following the rape, Khun Seuk desigrates his wife. She is no longer worth causing her heart to broken as she is not responsible of this event. Did she kill her own husband as she claims? The tribunal uses a medium to know the truth from the spirit (ผี). Khun Seuk's wife asks bandit Singkham to take her with him and to kill Khun Seuk also (ใจดำ). Singkham refuses to do so. The wife flees. Singkham releases Khun Seuk but he cannot stop crying knowing his wife treachery. He finally kills himself. Who is telling the truth? A domestic helper Prasok passing by during the event finally tells the truth. The wife denigrates Singkham refusing to go either him or glare him. To proof his worthiness, the wife Sampai asks him to defeat Khun Seuk in a fight. Khun Seuk refuses to fight with Singkham as it is below his status. He complains his wife still remains a low level woman (ลูกคนครัว) as she accepted the rape instead of killing herself avoid him to lose face (ขายหน้า). Sampai remains alone as both men refuse to take her anymore. Both of them are not real men (ไม่ใช่ลูกผู้ชาย). Following a duel, Khun Seuk impales himself. The one getting the blade was Prasok himself to sell it to get money for his poor family. Prasok and the beggar teach the young monk a lot on humanity. The young monk finally stays in the monkhood. Movie "Kon Khon" (คนโขน) was Thailand's submission to 2012 Academy Awards. It was a controversial choice because of lack of critical acclaim and box-office success. Movie อุโมงค์ผาเมือง นางยั่วสวาท / The Outrage was not chosen as it is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's award-winning "Rashomon" (1950). “Rashomon" was translated into Thai by the statesman MR Kukrit Pramoj. The movie includes Buddhist themes related to jealousy, greed for women or for jewels, lies, human behaving like animal (สัตว์), hatred, ire, lie, lazy, simulation, cowardliness, weakness towards women cries, death, unhappiness (ความทุกข์), status of high people (ผู้ดี). Greed causes to lose finally everything.

เท่ง โหน่ง จีวรบิน
เท่ง โหน่ง จีวรบิน

Year: 2011

Thai title: เท่ง โหน่ง จีวรบิน
English title:

Rating: 3/5
Director: Pongsak Pongsuwan

Main actor: Pongsak Pongsuwan,Chusak Aiemsuk,Mum Jokmok,Somchai Sakdikul,Akom Preedakul
Main actress: Tukkie

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Thai movie เท่ง โหน่ง จีวรบิน was released in year 2011. It lasts 1h26mn. Sia Nong (Chusak Aiemsuk) welcomes a Thai monk (Pongsak Pongsuwan) coming to Tibet by plane. A TV program announced that ruffians’ leader Somchai Sakdikul has escaped from prison. Inside the plane, there are also Tukkie (ตุ๊กกี้ ชิงร้อย) as air hostess, Mum Jokmok as pilot, Amina (อมีนา พินิจ) as secretary. They board in the plane but it is hijacked by Somchai (สมชาย เข็มกลัด). He forces all the men to jump from the plane except the monk and the secretary. The robbers target a safe belonging to Sia Nong. The plane lands in the Golden Triangle but the robbers are unable to open the safe. Thanks to coded sentences, the monk succeeds to find the first code. As a comic interlude, Akom Preedakul comes to buy drugs and weapons. A second code is needed to open the safe but the secretary Amina asks for guarantee for her and the monk. By saving a child having fever, the monk gets reconnaissance from the villagers as they believed the kid was possessed (ผีเข้า). The monk gets mystic power recognition (บรามีหลวงพี่). He succeeds to change the villagers’ mentality but Somchai is still his enemy. Somchai rebels against Sadikul. Sadikul lets them flee by plane. Fighting happens in the plane and the monk has to use a lingam (ลิงค์) to prevent petrol leaking. As a monk cannot touch a woman, he is unable to reenter in the plane… The plane finally succeeds to land miraculously. Sadikul goes to jail for 5 years and humbly recognised that having sacred amulets cannot help when you misbehave. Right behavior is inside the heart. This comedy still delivers a few key Buddhist messages.

อาปัติ
อาปัติ

Year: 2015

Thai title: อาปัติ
English title: Arbat

Rating: 5/5
Director:

Main actor: Charlie Trairattana,Sorapong Chatree
Main actress:

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Thai movie อาปัติ was released in year 2015. It lasts 1h20mn. The movie อาบัติ was censored and finally renamed as อาปัติ after removing some controversial scenes. Thai movie "Arbat" (อาบัติ) was first banned in 2015. Thai Censorship Board objected to the movie not being respectful to Thai Buddhism (novice drinking alcohol, novices fighting, novice showing disrespect to the Buddha image, novice touching the face of a girl). Finally after cutting three minutes, the movie was unbanned and released under new name "Arpatti" (อาปัติ). The movie still shows young monks smoking and playing with their smartphone but those are typical scenes that can be seen nowadays in Buddhist temples. The movie director mentions it was a way to attract attention on issues happening in nowadays Thai Buddhism. Novice (เณร) San (Charlie Trairattana) just enters monkhood. San is back from prison after 2 years and his father still does not forgive him. In this Buddhist temple, they provide food and prayers for hungry ghosts (เปรต). Not everybody can see hungry ghost (One way to to see a ghost is to bend over, stick the head between legs and look behind). San still tries to contact his girlfriend through Line but she doesn't answer. Sorapong Chatree is playing a crazy guy. San meets a young teen girl called Fai. San has visions of ghosts in his room. San is upset as his girlfriend doesn't answer. She finally tells him that she wishes to break (เลิก). Upset San drinks alcohol and is discovered by other monks. He wishes to disrobe (สึก). Issues are happening with the crazy guy, who mentions a ghost is around San's cloister (กุฏิ) and is also stealing alms offering (บิณฑบาต) food. But as the abbot takes too long time to let him go, he wishes to remove the robe by himself (อย่าถอดผ้าเหลือง). He has often discussion with another Luang Phi, who had a sad childhood. His mother Pin hanged herself in the cloister, where San is now staying. Pin used to live in front of Fai's house. Pin used to love a monk but this love was impossible (บาป). Per local superstition, she should reincarnate in a hungry ghost. San decides to flee with Fai. The crazy guy was a Buddhist abbot and had an affair with Pin (อาบัติ - offence). As she hanged herself, the abbot buried her. He also killed Luang Phi, Pin's first son, to silence him. Following the crime, he becomes crazy being tormented by Pin's ghost. San needs to choose if he wants to be a holy man (นักบุญ) or a sinner (นักบาป). Luang Phi body is finally discovered and cremated properly. His half-brother is the now current abbot. San decides to stay in the monkhood.

กลัว
กลัว

Year: 2016

Thai title: กลัว
English title: The Story

Rating: 4/5
Director:

Main actor:
Main actress:

Thai short film กลัว / The Story was released in year 2016 on YouTube and on Thai TV NBT ช่อง 11. It lasts 32 minutes and is based on a real story. Sa, a young Muslim teen living in Pattani, is in grade ม.6. Her mother is working in Malaysia. Sa needs to stop her study and to find a job as her family is poor. She was mainly raised by her grandparents. Due to insurrection in South of Thailand, insecurity and fear (กลัว) are always present. One day, she carries a small boy injured during a bombing. She finally gets a chance to go to university (ได้ทุน) in Nakhon Thammarat to study medicine. Fear (ความกลัว) is present in daily life through anti-intrusion barriers in front of Buddhist temples, Thai armed soldiers controlling circulation. The university includes Buddhist and Muslim students so they have to work together and to go beyond cultural issues. Friendship can be built through love (มิตรภาพยนตร์สร้างได้และ หล่อหลอมด้วยความรัก). Both Muslim (ไทยมุสลิม) and Buddhist (ไทยพุทธ) students love the same land. One day, one of her Muslim friend's father, is killed so misunderstanding does happen again between Muslim and Buddhist students. Finally friendship is stronger than misunderstanding as Fatima is back. Nobody understand Muslims as well as another Muslim, so Sa wishes to go back to her village to take care of people by being a doctor.



Theme of Buddhism is present in Thai movies. Some movies describe the concepts of Buddhism from the jakata stories Many Thai films present also the idea of karma.

สันติ-วีณา
สันติ-วีณา

Year: 1954

Thai title: สันติ-วีณา
English title: Santi-Vina

Rating: 5/5
Director: Ratana Pestonji

Main actor:
Main actress: Rewadee Siriwilai

Thai movie สันติ-วีณา (Santi-Vina) was considered as a lost movie during many years. It was finally discovered again, restored and available in full length of 113 minutes. In year 2016 it was shown during Cannes Classic section of the 69th Cannes Film Festival. It was the first 35mm Thai movie ever realised. It was produced by หนุมานภาพยนตร์ and directed by Ratana Pestonji in year 1954. Movie Santi-Vina entered Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Tokyo and got three awards. It was the first Thai movie to participate to overseas movies competition and to get award. When back to Thailand, the film couldn't enter due to tax issue. So it was sent to England and got lost! Luckily it was found again in year 2014 in England in the British Film Institute and also in Russian and Chinese Film archives. Santi-Vina was the first Thai movie to be shown in mainland China. A film researcher found that the movie "Santi-Vina" had been sold to Russia and China in the 1950s and was released in those countries. The restored movie has a colorful and crisp HD image. The short trailer shows images of Loy Kratong, the love of a woman towards a blind man. It is still unclear if Santi-Vina movie will be released by Thai Film Archives under DVD format. According to the Cannes Classic’s synopsis, the story is about “Santi, a poor 10 years old blind boy, who is living with his father. Vina, a young girl, takes a pity on him and tries to protect him from the bullying of Krai. Santi’s father sends him to stay with Luang Ta, a respectable monk, hopefully that he would learn the Buddhist lessons and by doing good deed, he could regain his eyesight. When they have grown up, Santi and Vina become lovers. Krai feels jealous because he also loves Vina. Krai asks his parent to arrange a marriage proposal to Vina. Vina decides to run away with Santi. However, they are finally caught and Santi is severely beaten. On the day Vina gets married with Krai, a cape collapses. Luang Ta lost his life in order to save Santi’s life. Santi’s eyesight is miraculous cured but he realizes that real happiness in life is by entering the monkhood”. In 1976, Pestoni's son Santa remade "Santi-Vina" as a tribute to his father. This remake is currently in poor condition.

แพรดำ
แพรดำ

Year: 1961

Thai title: แพรดำ
English title: Black Silk

Rating: 5/5
Director: Ratana Pestonji

Main actor:
Main actress:

Seni is a manager of a nightclub. Two men, Sin and Wan, come to visit him and ask him to pay back his debts but he has no money! He refuses to pay and threatening words are exchanged. Young man Tom is used by Seni as odd job man. Phrae, a young widow, is working on clothes confection. She has a baby. Her surname is “Phrae dam” (แพรดำ) as she is mourning for two years. Tom wants to bring happiness back to her but she always refuses to go out with him arguing it is still too early. Sema, Seni’s twin brother (ลูกแฟด), just dies of malaria. Seni decides to bury the corpse there and not bring it back to Bangkok. He has a hidden plan. Since years Seni wishes to buy Wan's land but knows Wan will never sell to him due to the debt issue. Seni asks Tom to bring Phrae in order that she pretends to be the buyer. Things turn wrong as Phrae is not aware of the role she is expected to play and Wan refuses to sell. Seni strangles Wan and Tom shots Sin. Seni disguises this as a crime, i.e. Sin having killed Wan and then fleeing away. Phrae has a temporary loss of consciousness. Tom forgets Phrae's shoes there. Seni then simulates his death in a car crash. A burnt corpse is found in the car. It is in fact Sin's corpse. Seni takes Sema’s identity, his own brother, in order to get life insurance payment following the car accident. Tom shall get a part in order to marry with Phrae. Seni has a reputation of good man but he is in fact evil. He is now the new owner of the nightclub under Sema's identity and gets the money from insurance company. Meanwhile Phrae is always sick. Phrae chases Tom from her house as he is a murderer. Sema is worried that Phrae could disclose the whole truth so he suggests Tom to stop seeing her. He gives Tom 20 000 bath and a car. Sema has a plan to control Phrae without killing her. Her baby is kidnapped. Sema sets up a plan pretending Sin's father has killed Tom and kidnapped Phrae's child as retaliation. If she dares going to police, the baby will die. Lost, she consults the temple abbot who advices her to become a nun (แม่ชี) to find inner peace. She has already been punished by losing her child by mingling with those two crooks. From black clothes (ดำ) she now wears white clothes. Tom still takes care of her child and wishes to find her as the baby is very sick. He finally finds her. She quits the nunnery to look after her baby. Tom dreams of a new life with Phrae and the baby but Phrae refuses as he lied to her so many times. Sema, aware that Tom brings Phrae back home, rushes to find them. To protect Phrae from Sema, Tom has to shoot him. Police catches him and Phrae. The baby dies while they are in jail. A trial happens. Tom denies any wrong doing but the shoes left by Phrae are the missing proof. Tom is sentenced to death. Phrae is spared and becomes a nun again. People may believe Karma (กรรม) doesn’t exist but this movie highlights its impacts and results on people actions. Bad deeds and sinners have been punished. It was a 35mm movie released in 1961. Phrae is played by Ratana Pestonji’s own daughter. It was shot in 35mm so that it could participate to overseas movies competitions such as Berlin 1961 festival. The movie got a photography award in Thai cinema yearly awards ceremony in 1961. This movie has also been registered as National Heritage per the 2016 list released by the Thai Film Archive.

กามนิต วาสิฎฐี
กามนิต วาสิฎฐี

Year: 1981

Thai title: กามนิต วาสิฎฐี
English title:

Rating: 3/5
Director:

Main actor: Sorapong Chatree,Krung Srivilai,Manop Aussawathep,Lak Apichat,Settha Sirachaya
Main actress: Naowarat Yooktanun,Thitima Sangkapitak

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It is about the love between the young people, Kamanit and Vasinee. It takes place in India 2000 years ago and features many songs. Coming back to his city, Kamanit is captured by outlaws. While pretending that Kamanit is dead, a fellow man convinces Vasinee's parents to give him her hand. Kamanit, who searched for the Buddha, hoping the Buddha would heal his broken heart. One night he met an old monk and sat talking to him all night because the monk seemed to be able to answer all of his questions. The next morning he bid farewell to the monk and continued in his search for the Buddha, without realizing that the monk he had been talking to all night was the Buddha himself. Even when he was gored to death by a bull, he still didn't realize who he had been speaking to.

ท้าฟ้าลิขิต
ท้าฟ้าลิขิต

Year: 1997

Thai title: ท้าฟ้าลิขิต
English title: Who is Running?

Rating: 5/5
Director: Oxide Pang

Main actor: Suchao Pongwilai
Main actress:

Kwan and Siep are girlfriend and boyfriend (แฟน). She is pure traditional Buddhist believer. She often goes to Buddhist temple (วัด). He is not a believer. When coming back from Khao Luang cave (ถ้ำเขาหลวง) in Phetchaburi, she is hurt by a car. Her body is not hurt but there are serious internal problems. She has only 20% chance to survive. Siep goes back to Khao Luang cave to ask for Buddha to protect Kwan as she has never done doing bad to others. The abbot explains to him that Kwan current situation is linked to her karma (กรรม) but Siep doesn't understand (กรรมเก่ามีจริง). Kwan was a robber in her previous life and killed 5 people. Siep needs to save lives of 5 people in exchange of redemption (ชดใช้) for his girlfriend. First he prevents a policeman to bet 300 000 baht on a horse that is favorite but shall finally lose. If he doesn't prevent the policeman to play, the policeman would have lost the money and gets suicide as it is not his own money. Siep also asks the policeman to give back the money he wrongly intended to use. Then Siep saves another life. A teen under the strong pressure of his parents to succeed his exams cannot bear it and wishes to kill himself. Another teen girl wishes also to throw herself under a train at the train station because her boyfriend wants to break up. He stops her just in time. He gives to her and the boyfriend the business card of the policeman so that he can help them to solve their problems. This movie is positive as it shows there are always solutions to problems. A robbery is going to happen in a Chinese jewelry with 5 people including bombs and shootings between robbers and police. His intervention allows to catch the robbers and avoid one policeman death. In another intervention aiming to save a running kid going to be crashed by a speeding car, Siep saves the wrong kid. So Kwan dies (เวรกรรม). Siep cannot find the abbot anymore. There is no monk since many years in Khao Luang cave... When going out of the cave, he gives some coins to an old beggar lady. So he gets another chance to save the kid (ทำดีได้ดี). This time he succeeds and Kwan wakes up. This movie got 5 Thai film awards in 1997. Director Oxide Pang is coming from Thai advertising industry so he uses different methods (fast shooting to indicate the speed and then slow movement for the last poignant seconds).

องคุลิมาล
องคุลิมาล

Year: 2003

Thai title: องคุลิมาล
English title: Angulimala

Rating: 3/5
Director: Suthep Tannirat

Main actor: Nopachai Chaiyanam
Main actress:

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Angulimala was born into a Brahmin caste, the highest Indian caste. However he was predestined to become a cruel bandit. He was deceived by his jealous teacher who told him he must kill 1,000 people and cut their thumbs off to make a necklace if he wished to attain highest wisdom. When Angulimala met Buddha, he tried in vain to catch and kill him, then Buddha convinced him to become a monk. The director spent three years making the movie with 80 million baht and faced censorship.



This Thai Buddhism movie page 1 contains 26 records.

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