As a film fanatic, you’re determined to uncover the treasure trove of international cinema. This week you want to get hold of the French classic Jules and Jim. Your supplier gives you a ‘master’ copy and you hand over 100 Baht for Truffaut’s masterpiece without hesitation. You’ve been a regular here for years.
In a country like yours, obscure foreign films are hard to come by on the official market, and even if you can get hold of them, no subtitles are provided in your language. Also, some of the films you want to watch don’t conform to your country’s cultural values – anything with too much nudity or vulgar behaviour is automatically ruled out.
But Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul believes that piracy provides ‘a sort of window’. He cites the Sundance-winning Cambodian documentary, Enemies of the People, as an example of a film that offers a different view of the country’s history. It was banned in Cambodia, but people stealthily watched pirated copies and gained a vision of the past prohibited by their government.
And piracy is lucrative; the market for copied DVDs is estimated to be worth around $377 million (12 billion Thai baht) per year in Thailand, $25 billion worldwide.
If you need quick cash or just want to share the classics with your compatriots, all you need are some ordinary home electronics. Just make sure to avoid the amateurish mistakes that distract from a good story.
1) Put the art-house international film you want to share in the DVD set and film the screen with a hand-held DVD camera. Get comfortable and don’t worry if your hands shake.
2) To make the pirate DVD experience more authentic, capture any background noises such as talking or the rustling of sweet wrappers.
3) Create voice-over subtitles to the finished movie by turning down the volume of the recorded film and dictating your translation into a microphone. If you’re not sure about what something means, make an educated guess.
4) Make a cover for your DVD by using an image of one of the lead actors from the web. If you can’t find the exact actor, go for someone similar looking. No one will notice the difference.
Text courtesy of Marika Lysandrou