"Lao will go to the World Cup," said the banners and billboards around Bangkok in the past few weeks. In fact, it’s a part of promotional materials for the upcoming movie, which is scheduled to be released on May 18, called "Mak Tae" (or "Lucky Loser," an official English title.) Unfortunately, Lao might not want to go to the World Cup, even if it’s in a movie-script as there had been a series of concerns and warnings from Laotian government stating that the movie could jeopardize diplomatic relations.
Yesterday, the film company GTH announced that the release of the movie would be halted unconditionally in order to avoid any further dispute and misunderstanding. The director, Adisorn Tresirikasem, one of six co-directors from a critically acclaimed Thai movie "Fan Chan" described his first solo directing work as an entertaining story about football dreams of Southeast Asians. He said that he supported the company’s decision not to release the movie if it did not serve its purpose.
In fact, prior to the decision to cancel the film, there were 3 official screening sessions in Bangkok. The first screening session was on Saturday 6 May for <Pantip.com> member. The second screening session was the Press preview on Tuesday 9 May and the supposed final screening session was on Saturday 13 May for various Thai movie websites. Fortunately, I got a ticket for this final screening session from <Deknang.com>
The movie told a story of a Thai football couch from English Premier League who came back to Thailand to pursue his dream of being Thai national football couch. However, the football association of Thailand decided to hire a Brazilian couch for the national team. Feeling disappointed together with his aunt who won a national lottery worth 180 million baht, they turned to Laotian football team which got a chance to participate in the World Cup qualifier with a "Lucky Loser" quota. (A qualified team dropped out of the tournament thus the lucky loser got a chance.) Thai and Lao national team had to face each other in the final match which would decide which team would go the World Cup Final.
In my opinion, the movie has good intention. Even though it is promoted as a comedy, there is good-will message throughout the film. I didn’t see any racism or comedy remarks regarding Laotian people. Comical elements are initiated from individual characters rather than national stereotype. Well, I guess it’s just like an old saying that "one man’s meat is another man’s poison," the Laotian officials who had a chance to watch this film or its trailers might not think the same as I did. Thus, we have to respect their concerns.
Hopefully, the movie could somehow be released to public and the audiences would decide whether it is appropriate or not. Now, all the film needed is some "Luck" as a lucky loser in the movie.