12 Sep 2022
Creating a buzz in the entertainment world is The Future List’s own Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, renowned LGBTQ activist/actor/scriptwriter/film director-turned-Thailand’s first trans politician.
After the uproar surrounding her last big film, “Insects in the Backyard” (2010) which was banned in Thailand after its premiere—the gay-themed film showed glimpses of male anatomy which offended the censors—but went on to win international awards, Tanwarin—or Tannia as she calls herself—left the film industry for politics. But she is now back in the limelight with the recent release of “Eclipse”, the television series that has taken Asia by storm. It falls into the trending “Y series” (boy’s love) category that appeals to teens and first-jobbers. Not only did Eclipse get top Twitter ratings in Thailand after episode 1, the ratings also went through the roof in other countries like Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The story is set in a boys’ school with a century of tradition, rules and regulations behind it, preserved by strict teachers and straight-laced prefects who keep all the pupils in line. But when the sun and moon line up with earth in their trajectory, some mysterious force brings disaster on those who violate school rules according to a curse made by the school’s founder. The arrival of a new pupil, Ayan—who is set on finding out the truth behind a mysterious death in the past—starts events in motion.
Apart from the boy-love theme that is perhaps to be expected in a boys’ school, the series addresses a number of social issues of the day. As a microcosm of Thai society, the school thrives on traditional culture that no one dares to question, and to do so is not only disruptive but also jeopardises the status quo, the school’s hierarchy of power and authority.
As a renowned activist for equal rights for all, Tannia addresses many of these social norms. On the topic of school uniforms, Ayan says to the prefect, “Rules from a century ago might have suited that period, but don’t you realise that society has changed since then? To stick to those old rules just doesn’t make sense.”
Ayan also argues with conservative teacher, Miss Waree, on the subject of former prime minister Field Marshal Pibulsongkhram and equality, saying that school uniforms were introduced to create a sense of equality by Field Marshal Pibul who was a member of the People’s Party who opposed the previous authoritarian power of absolute monarchy, yet was himself a dictator. His point is that there are always two sides to a coin, and people should be allowed to have choices based on information to be found everywhere if only they looked.
Miss Waree disagrees and insists, “You must abide by the text books”, to which Ayan says, “Good education should be receptive and open for development”.
Not only did Tannia write the script and direct the series, she also took on the role of a waitress in Café for All, a café of diversity proudly displaying the rainbow flag in the background.
The combination of all these themes has made “Eclipse” a huge success around the Asian region, and even as far as Brazil, where fans wait to watch the latest episode on GMM25 every Friday at 8.30pm or streamed on Viu at 10.30pm the same day.