Kajeepop Khunphasee and Hathaiphat Kongpoe (BALAC Students)

On Monday 20 March 2017, the Bachelor of Arts in Language and Culture (BALAC) International Programme of the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, in collaboration with the Centre forEuropean StudiesatChulalongkorn University and the Embassy of Hungary, held a screening of the renowned Hungarian film Children of Glory (2006) in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. This public film screening as well as post-screening discussion was preceded by a presentation of award-winning Hungarian short films by Dr David Görömbölyi, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission. As part of this event, a rare exhibition on the Hungarian Revolution was held at the venue for students and the interested public.

The opening ceremony was presided over by Associate Professor Dr Kingkarn Thepkanjana, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, who gave the welcome remarks. The Dean’s speech was followed by a welcome speech delivered by His Excellency Dr Péter Jakab, Ambassador of Hungary to the Kingdom of Thailand.

Dr David Görömbölyi’s presentation was followed by a panel discussion led by the renowned writer and director Mr Kong Rithdee and two BALAC Student Representatives: Ms Nichakorn Nutcharoen and Ms Anna Lawattanatrakul. The guest speakers offered comparative views on the making of Thai and foreign films.

The film Children of Glory (2006) depicts the historical events of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, beginning with a recreated scene of the “Blood in the Water” match, a water polo match between Hungary and the USSR at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The screening was followed by a panel discussion. Inspired by a variety of Hungarian films, the guest speakers and participants discussed the notion that, unlike foreign films, Thai films have often been viewed as mere entertainment. The endeavours and opportunities to expand the scope and function of Thai films remain scarce.
The post-screening discussion on Children of Glory also touched upon the reasons for the lack of attempt to create films based on historical events which took place in Thailand. The guest speakers and participants exchanged views and opinions on how the prevailing norms and censorship obstruct the potential growth of Thai cinematic production and depth of thematic innovation. Academic, financial as well as spiritual support is therefore essential for the developments we wish to see in the Thai film industry.

After the panel discussion, His Excellency Dr Péter Jakab, Ambassador of Hungary to the Kingdom of Thailand, expressed his appreciation to the BALAC programme and the Centre of European Studies for honouring and commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The Ambassador concluded the evening’s event by reciting the English translation of a famous Hungarian poem featured at the end of the film. The words from “Angel from Heaven” (1956), a poem by the acclaimed poet Sándor Márai (1900-1989), may have reminded the audience of Albert Camus’s literary homage to the Hungarian Revolution: “In spite of their misery, their chains, their exile, they [the people of Hungary] have left us a glorious heritage, which we must deserve: freedom…”