Films & Schedules

  • Citizen Juling
    Polamuang Juling

  • Kraisak Choonhavan

  • Manit Sriwanichpoom, Ing K

Thai, Yawi
222 minutes
Colour/Digital Betacam

Production Company:
Kathmandu Photo Gallery
Kraisak Choonhavan, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Ing K
Written By:
Ing K
Production Designer:
Surachai Patanakijpaibool
Manit Sriwanichpoom
Ing K, Ivan Drummond
Ing K
Luang Gai
Principal Cast: Kraisak Choonhavan

TIFF Tags: Documentary 

Saturday September 0604:00PM AMC 10 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1104:00PM VARSITY VIP 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1207:00PM JACKMAN HALL - AGO Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Citizen Juling opens on crowds as they celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of King Bhumibol's coronation in Bangkok. Using a hand-held camera, the filmmakers quiz passersby with questions such as “Why do you love the King?” But the interviewees, unused to being asked about the sacred ideological pillars of “Nation, Religion, King,” give mostly cautious answers. It is a provocative start to this powerfully humanistic documentary, which examines the issue of Islamic insurgency in Thailand within the context of the country's unstable democracy.

Since the Islamic uprising started in 2004, more than fifty Buddhist teachers have been killed in two years. Juling Pongkunmul was an art teacher from Thailand's north who ventured to the Islamic south to teach at a village kindergarten. She would end up lying comatose in a pool of blood three weeks before the King's coronation celebration. The case of Juling's abduction outraged the whole nation, and she became the symbol of national solidarity against southern separatists.

Citizen Juling examines this complex political situation through the viewpoint of Kraisak Choonhavan, Thailand's outspoken human-rights activist. As he ventures into the south, we also see a different side of the Muslim community. Many do not understand how, after generations of living peacefully with the Buddhists, times have suddenly turned so violent. And the response of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government to those separatist attacks – police brutality, abduction of Muslim leaders, and military oppression – has intensified the mutual mistrust and atrocities on both sides.

In the end, Citizen Juling highlights the need for justice and accountability in a country rife with corruption. It is an immersive and incisive portrayal of an unequal society in which terrorism is not the cause, but a symptom.

Raymond Phathanavirangoon

Kraisak Choonhavan studied international relations at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Asian political studies at the University of London. He serves as a member of parliament in Thailand. Citizen Juling (08) is his first film.

Manit Sriwanichpoom was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and studied film at the Goethe-Institut Bangkok. He is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. Citizen Juling (08) is his first film.

Ing K was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She is the author of the cult bestseller Behind the Postcard, a media activist handbook written as a travelogue. After several documentaries for television, Citizen Juling (08) is her first feature film

Cadillac People's Choice Award