Classic Thai Films Available on YouTube for Quarantine Watching

"Santi-Vina" (1954).

Update: The entirety of 1965 blockbuster “Ngoen, Ngoen, Ngoen” is now available on the YouTube channel.

BANGKOK — A host of films deemed to be “historically and culturally significant” are now available to view for free on YouTube.

The Thai Film Archive is continually adding films to a Covid-19 playlist on their YouTube channel, which includes the feature length “Santi-Vina” (1954) and clips of the oldest Thai film with a katoey (transgender woman) from the same year. 

“Very few people have seen it ‘Santi-Vina,’ since the film was lost for so long. Young people in quaratine at home should try watching Santi-Vina, as well as other films, for education,” Orawan Chawasilp, a public relations office from the film archive said.

Undoubtedly the main feature of the Covid playlist is “Santi-Vina,” the first Thai feature shot in color on 35mm with sound. It was lost for six decades and only recently restored and briefly screened at Scala Theater in 2016. Read our review here.

Many other films on the playlist are documentary film clips that entered the National Film Registry for preservation in October, such as “Muay Thai” (1963) which records the teachings of Bua Wad-im, a Thai boxer known for his Korat style of muay thai.

Love Thai ghost movies? “Prai Takian” (1940) is considered to be the genre’s prototype, complete with slapstick humor. The restored 12-minute clip from “It Happens Because of a Katoey” (Katoey Pen Het) (1954) is the oldest-known Thai film with a transgender woman.

The musical ad for “See Kings,” (1959) includes footage of moviegoers in the late ‘50s, during the Golden Age of Cinema when standalone theaters competed fiercely for audiences. Also in the playlist is a rare trailer for the 1965 blockbuster musical “Ngoen, Ngoen, Ngoen” (“Money, Money, Money”) featuring Mitr Chaibancha telling audiences to “if you miss it, both of us will be sorry.” As of April 1, the entire film is also available on the channel.

Soon to come is “Fai Yen” (Cold Fire), a 1965 anti-Communist propaganda film sponsored by the US.

Orawan said the uploads to the channel will be permanent, so cinephiles can rewatch them long after quarantine ends.

Related stories:

Movies About King, Katoey, Bad Monk Added to National Film Heritage

Restored ‘Santi-Vina’ Offers Refreshing Window to ‘Thainess’ Past

From Village to Airplane Cabin: How Thai Ghosts Evolve Alongside the Living

Art Out of Time: How a French Cinephile Became a Thai Cinema Expert