Censorship, Artistic Freedom, and Shakespeare Restored

Reimagining Ing K.'s Censor Must Die as a Thai Hamlet


  • Joshua Kim Georgetown University




In this essay, I discuss Thai director Ing K.’s Censor Must Die (2014), a documentary that her attempts to overturn the banning of her adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, entitled Shakespeare Must Die (2012). While Ing K.’s Shakespeare Must Die remains banned as of 2022, this essay demonstrates that Censor Must Die may be interpreted as a Shakespeare film in its own right, that is, as a type of futuristic Hamlet, a logical follow-up to Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet 2000. Censor Must Die, not unlike Hamlet 2000, I argue, highlights the struggles of individual artists against what we colloquially term in our contemporary, postmodern society as “the System” or “the State.” In offering such a reading of Censor Must Die, I attempt to restore Shakespeare in Ing K.’s work against the grain of Thai government censors while raising the question of to what extent Shakespeare’s corpus may help to frame, reimagine, and bear witness to international current events.