CANNES — Thai arthouse director Apichatpong Weerasethakul slammed the country's tough censorship rules as his latest movie entered the race for the top Cannes film festival award on Friday.
Acclaimed by many Western film critics for his "auteur" offerings, his latest movie "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" is a parable "on a cinema that's also dying or dead", he said.
"But you cannot blame Thai film-makers," he said at a press conference. "They cannot do anything because of these censorship laws."
"We cannot make a movie on the current situation," he added, "due to laws that ban threats to national security. Anything can be thrown into that."
The film-maker, who said he flew out of Bangkok "as the city was burning", expressed hoped that "something will change for the best" from the current chaos.
"Thailand is a violent country," he said. "It's controlled by a group of mafia."
In his movie, Uncle Boonmee is sufffering from acute kidney failure and has decided to spend his last days in the jungle, where the ghost of his dead wife returns along with his missing son, turned into a hairy monkey ghost.
The film is among 19 selected to compete for the Palme d'Or prize for best film to be handed out Sunday.
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