After years of deliberation, and numerous delays, the Thai cabinet has finally passed a law which includes Thailand’s first ever film ratings system. Films released in Thailand will now receive an age-restricted certificate:
‘G’ (suitable for general audiences) -- No sex, abusive language or violence.
‘P’ (Promote) -- Movies that should be promoted on the basis of cultural or artistic merit.
‘+13’ -- No violence, brutality, inhumanity, bad language or indecent gestures.
‘+15’ -- Some violence, brutality, inhumanity, bad language or indecent gestures will be allowed.
‘+18’ -- No exposed genitalia, crime or drugs.
‘+20’ -- Sex scenes are allowed but no exposed genitalia.
Films do still run the risk of the trusty Ban from the ratings board – for movies that offend the monarchy, threaten national security, hamper national unity, insult faiths, disrespect honorable figures, challenge morals or contain explicit sex scenes – but seemingly with the new system in place this will occur less often than in the past.
The certificates are advisory (not enforced) with the exception of the ‘+20’ rating which is like the American NC-17 rating. No word yet on how entries in film festivals will be treated, or if movies that do give a peek at genitalia will be pixilated as they have been traditionally.
The issuing of the ratings comes just in time for the release of 4 movies that allow the ratings board to stretch its legs in the new scheme and allow us to get a sense of what to expect. No huge surprises here:
Quentin Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds” (the first film to be rated) – ‘+18’
Hayao Miyazaki’s anime feature “Ponyo” – ‘G’
Korean film “Naked Kitchen” – ‘+15’
American Documentary “Young at Heart” – ‘P’
The ratings are required to be posted by distributors on all promotional materials and have already cropped up in many Thai film-related websites. Several newspapers are lagging in implementing the ratings in their editorials, and since the theater owners are only required to verify the ages of their patrons for a ‘+20’ rating it could take some time before the system becomes mainstream.