Homogeneous, Empty Time (2017)
Homogeneous, Empty Time (2017) trailer from thunska on Vimeo.
Homogeneous, Empty Time / สุญกาล (2017)
Press kit: https://issuu.com/thunska/docs/hetpresskit
Asian Vision The 28th Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore
In Documentary Competition @Queer LISBOA 21, Portugal
第十四届北京独立影像展报名表 / the 14 th Beijing Independent Film Festival, China
- (with The Island Funeral, Railway Sleepers, By the Time It Gets Dark, #BKKY)
SCREAMING GOATS (a chapter from the film)
21th Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2017, Switzerland
"One of the most actual, original and courageous documentaries"-Gertjan ZUILHOF
"An edgy, vital political documentary - which people in the Kingdom will not get to see"-Kong Rithdee
DCP,HDCAM / Color / Stereo / 103:23 minutes / 2017 / Thai with English subtitles / Thailand-Germany
Directors: Thunska Pansittivorakul & Harit Srikhao
Cinematographer: Harit Srikhao
Editor: Thunska Pansittivorakul
Producer: Jürgen Brüning
Jürgen Brüning Filmproduktion
Contact filmmaker: email@example.com
This documentary film explores the spread of nationalism according to the concept of “Homogeneous, Empty Time” by Walter Benjamin, a German Jewish philosopher and cultural critic. The theory as referenced in the book Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson stated that nationalistic ideologies originated from emptiness within an area where people have homogenous consciousness. This film, therefore, explores people in a variety of communities in Thailand, such as high school students, religious people, nationalistic right-wingers, military cadets, and people in the Southern border, in an attempt to find what foundation the Thai nation is formed upon. The film was shot during a time when Thailand was at its most nationalistic, with the military regime and coup leaders in power. It was also a time of great risk as the junta held absolute power in controlling the citizens by means of withholding and manipulating information, controlling people’s behavior and restricting rights, mental and psychological brainwashing, as well as widespread suppression and punishment of any anti-government voices. This left the country with a great number of political prisoners as well as those who have fled in exile.
I have personally known Benedict Anderson, a professor who specialized in Southeast Asian history, since 2005. Among many suggestions that he has given me was “why don’t you make a film on the Southern border conflict?” since I originally came from that region and my hometown was just 30 minutes away from the border. I have touched upon the issue before, although quite superficially, in my previous works like This Area is Under Quarantine (2008) and The Terrorists (2011) which tells of incidents that took place not far from the problematic area. However, I had never really dared to enter the area myself. Later, Anderson passed away in 2015, not long after another coup d’etat by the military in Thailand. This made me contemplate subject matters that I had never addressed in my work before, namely the Southern border and ultra-nationalists. All these issues now appear in this documentary as my tribute to “Khroo Ben” Benedict Anderson (1936-2015)
This is the second film that I collaborated with Pansittivorakul. We met just months before the coup d’etat in 2014. My background was photography, and I often emphasized teenagers in my work. This brought me to particular focus on youths in school in this film because school is full of rules and restrictions upon your body, discipline, and even sexual desires. It’s a place where nationalism and the patronage system are used to shape boys into “good Thai men.” Although each human being is born and raised differently and there is no one person that’s like another, Thai kids are never allowed to question or choose their own paths in life. The very aim of the Thai educational institution is to produce a man with strength and health who is simultaneously obedient, unquestioning, and able to follow orders. Education, at the end of the day, is a tool for the state to infantilize its people. Therefore, the current PM’s lack of emotional maturity, or Thai men’s obsession with guns, motorcycles, planes, tanks, battleships, sacred things, violence, and power, may all be seen as not so different from boys’ obsession with their own penises.
Thunska Pansittivorakul was born in Bangkok. He graduated from Chulalongkorn University. He won the Grand Prize at the 4th Taiwan International Documentary Festival in 2004 for his documentary feature 'Happy Berry'. His 'Hearthbreak Pavilion' project won the grand prize from Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) at the 10th Pusan International Film Festival in 2005. In 2007 he received the Silpatorn Award from the Thai Ministry of Culture's Office of Contemporary Arts. Since early 2009, Thunska has been working with Jürgen Brüning, a German producer. Together they produced 'The Terrorists' (2011) which had its world premiere at the 61st Berlinale, and 'Supernatural' (2014) which had its world premiere at the 43rd International Film Festival Rotterdam. In 2012, Pansittivorakul founded Sleep of Reason Films to make personal films which often involve attacking human rights violations and Thai propaganda.
Harit Srikhao was born in 1995 in Thailand. When Srikhao was sixteen, he attended the Angkor Photo Workshop by Magnum Photographer, Antoine d'Agata. His works are mostly a fantasy fiction dealing with personal interest and situation in his country. His works have been exhibited internationally e.g., Getxophoto in Spain, reGeneration3 at the Musée del'Élysée in Switzerland, England, Mexico and China. He received numerous awards, including Winner of Juror’s prize at Filter Photo Festival in US, Second Prize Winner of Gomma Grant 2016. In 2017, His latest solo show in Bangkok has been censored by military. Most recent, Srikhao is selected as Foam Talents to exhibit at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam.