Ever since Thailand’s military coup in May, the ruling junta has been campaigning to restore Thailand’s “traditional values”—which this weekend included a short film about an overachieving schoolboy, whose talents include painting admiring portraits of Adolph Hitler.
The opening of the film 30 seems a bit like an homage to the movie Rushmore, as it shows a youthful protagonist triumphing at a wide range of scholastic and extracurricular activities. It was commissioned by the junta as part of ”Thai Niyom (Thai Pride),” a compilation of short films that display the “Twelve Values” of prime minister and junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha, which was shown for free in Thai theaters this weekend. The Hitler cameo was first noticed by the Thai news site Khaosod English, and 30 was pulled from YouTube shortly afterwards (it can still be seen here).
Thailand is known for its occasional embrace of “Hitler chic,” in the form of fried chicken restaurants, parades, and superhero murals. Depictions of Hitler and the swastika are displayed in apparent obliviousness to Nazi genocide and war crimes during World War II, when Thailand was aligned mainly with the Axis powers.
A government spokesman told Khaosod that while he had not seen the film, “If I were to make an uneducated guess, it may have been intended to say that democracy has good and bad sides.” The junta recently announced that elections in Thailand would be delayed until at least 2016.