BANGKOK — A romantic comedy about Thai Muslims, made by a Thai Muslim director, and featuring Thai Muslim actors will enter theaters July 30.
When it opens, “Ruk Na, Soup Soup” will be a rare mainstream Thai film about Thai Muslims and their Deep South identity – and presented as a lighthearted romantic comedy, no less.
“The director wanted to make a film about things people don’t usually make films about,” Pathommatat Khachapa, a PR manager at M Pictures said. “Some people think the Deep South is scary, but we want to show that it’s beautiful as well.”
The film, directed by Kriengkrai Monwichit, is a joint production of Monwichit Studios and M Pictures.
The film centers around Minnie (Sasanee Weerachat), the granddaughter of a palace chef during the Sultanate of Patani, an independent nation annexed into Thailand in the early 20th century.
She goes to work at Hunsas Restaurant, a fine-dining restaurant with one Muslim Star, but accidentally causes the restaurant to lose the ranking. Minnie must gain back the star for the restaurant – while trying not to fall in love with the restaurant owner.
Several of the actors, including leading lady Sasanee Weerachat, are Muslims as well.
Films depicting Thailand’s Muslims are rare. Official record says 5.4 percent of the Thai population is Muslim, or around 3.7 million people. Many of them are in the southern region, where they make up almost 30 percent of the population.
“I’m Not Your F***ing Stereotype” (2019) a short film by Hesome Chemamah about a Muslim girl from Southern Thailand who gets bullied at school, won Best Southeast Asian Short Film at the 30st Singapore International Film Festival.
The military’s Internal Security Operations Command sponsored the production of “Latitude No. 6” (2015), a film about the Deep South unrest that painted the military in a positive light.