Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season 12

Come and See (Thailand) - Past Film

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An estimated 500 million people practice Buddhism worldwide as Eastern spirituality has become increasingly popular in the West. Like Christianity, there are multiple denominations found in Buddhism—and communities embroiled in crisis and controversy—as materialism and religion are inevitably intertwined. COME AND SEE examines Dhammakaya, a sect of four million with 131 branches worldwide and described as “Capitalist Buddhism,” and its leader Dhammachaiyo, who boasts of being the Creator and having met Buddha himself, and has been accused of money laundering and embezzlement. While this absorbing account of modern Thai society may initially feel austere, it is abundant with footage and interviews featuring scholars, journalists, historians, former followers, and current devotees, debating the intentions of the cult-like leader. 


As concern among government and law enforcement authorities grows, the documentary captures the disciples staging a sit-in to protect their sacred Dhammakaya temple and beloved leader, who is 73 and in declining health, escalating to a physical confrontation and 23 days of monks and followers sequestered in lockdown.

Director Nottapon Boonprakob

The second documentary by Nottapon Boonprakob, director of 2215—winner of Best Documentary Feature at the Thailand National Film Association Awards in 2018—COME AND SEE first premiered in the Wide Angle Documentary Competition at the Busan International Film Festival in October 2019. Delayed for theatrical release in Thailand due to the pandemic, it is presented in its North American premiere at Asian Pop-Up Cinema.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    84 minutes
  • Country
  • Premiere
    North American Premiere
  • Note
    Documentary, Thai with English subtitles
  • Director
    Nottapon Boonprakob
  • Cast