Movie About Thai Rescuing Rohingya to Screen at Film Fest

BANGKOK — Thailand’s only film to win Best Film at the Venice Film Festival will have a rare screening in the country this Friday.

“Manta Ray” (2018) will screen 8:30pm Friday as part of the Global Migration Film Festival running Friday through Saturday at the Bangkok Screening Room.

Critically-acclaimed, award-winning arthouse films by Thai directors are rarely, if never, screened in the country. “Manta Ray,” or “Kraben Rahu,” tells the story of a Thai fisherman who rescues and nurses a mute Rohingya man.

In an interview with Khaosod English after his big win, director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng said his fellow Thais’ hatred of Rohingya spurred him to create the film. 


“What really struck me was how many people, including my friends, aggressively hate the Rohingya. I know that Thai people normally look down on people from our neighboring countries, but those kind of insults never caused a crisis this bad,” Phuttiphong said.

The Global Migration Film Festival 2019 is organized by the UN International Organization for Migration. 

Read: Thai Director on Rohingya and a Crisis of Hate

The four other films in the festival also expand on the theme of compassion for migrants and refugees. “Angkar” (2018), screening 7pm Friday, is a documentary about Cambodian who fled the Khmer Rouge returning from France to the places they used to live.

“The Tower” (2018) is a Norwegian animated film about a Palestinian girl who lives in a refugee camp in Lebanon, generations after they left Israel after its founding, and will be screened 2pm on Saturday.

Multiplied in transition is the documentary “Shelter: Farewell to Eden” (2019), about a Filipino transgender person who leaves the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, goes to Libya, and then Europe. “Shelter” will be screened at 4:15pm Saturday.

The last film of the fest, Mexican documentario “Purgatorio: A Journey into the Heart of the Border” (2013) will be screened 6:45pm Saturday and takes a look at migrants trying to cross the Mexico-US border.

This year’s film fest is the third to be held. Last year’s featured the debut of a documentary about hundreds of women marrying Danish men.

Films are subtitled in English, and admission is free. Tickets can be reserved 30 minutes before each screening, on a first-come, first-served basis. The Bangkok Screening Room is reachable from MRT Lumphini.


Related stories:


Thai Director on Rohingya and a Crisis of Hate

Thai Compassion For Rohingya Wins Big in Venice

Doc on Thai-Danish Love Part of Diaspora Film Fest