A Cultural View in the Remake of Lies: From Rashomon to Umong Pha Mueang

Kosit Tiptiempong, Japan, ID LLCE2016-344;      Rashomon is a Japanese film made famous by the late Akira Kurosawa in the early 1950s. Despite the name, the film was actually based on two Japanese short stories of Rashomon and Yabu No Naka written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, with more emphasis on the latter. Rashomon has enjoyed critical acclaim and, surprisingly, spawned a Thai stage play of the same name in the 1960s. The latest movement in Thai popular culture regarding this film is that it inspired the feature film Umong Pha Mueang (English Title: At the Gate of the Ghost) in 2011, with a new setting—not in a Japanese forest, but in the northern part of Thailand. As a remake, Umong Pha Mueang is expected be adjusted to accommodate the understanding and value of Thai audience, thus resulting in cultural transfer through directorial attempts. With a focus on cultural aspects, the current study aims at examining the interpretation of the source materials of the original text in the Japanese two short stories and of the film directed by Kurosawa. Taking a close look at cultural mobility, the study analyzes the limit and expansion of the movie contents when put in a new context of Thai society.

Key words: Rashomon, Umong Pha Mueang, Cultural Studies, Thai film