What about Thai Movies
Part of a countries 'culture' is their national culture industry, in this case the movie industry. There is a lot of crap around in Thailand. In fact, I have yet not seen a Thai movie I would call a really good one. If you watch Thai TV, what's unavoidable in Thailand for there are everywhere TV sets running, even in the banks, the immigration offices and police stations, you get an impression of the mainstream. Soaps, livestyle, (bad) news, of course advertisements... all superficial nonesense. It does not look much better with Thai cinema movies. But, it's still better than Bollywood. And, is Hollywood that good?
A Thai Movie poster at a cinema in Phattalung. Image by Asienreisender, 2012
When travelling in Thailand, one sees in all the a bit bigger places shops and street stalls selling DVD's and Video CD's. Bangkok's Khao San and it's side roads are notorious for that. Most of them contain Thai stuff, some of them Western or other stuff. They are relatively cheap and you don't know if it's running on your computer or DVD player. The quality differs between good and lousy. Also there is a certain risk to get a virus. Westerners of course tend to get cheap western stuff there.
If you go to a Thai cinema be aware that you have to stand up before the film is shown when the 'king's anthem' (the former national anthem) is played. Some people have really trouble being sued for not standing up. It's by law mandatory to stand up. I wouldn't wonder the authorities in Thailand would trouble Westerners as well, although Western Tourists enjoy a certain degree of freedom Thai's do not, in these matters.
Very few Thai movies get an international reputation. Most of them are just designed for the particular Thai taste. 'Ong Bak', an action movie, is a bit an exception. Less known is a historical movie, 'The Legend of Suriyothai', which is the story of a legendary Thai princess who was involved in one of the many wars between Burmese and Thai kingdoms in the past. In this example in the early 16th century. It's highly idealized but at least interesting to see. The costumes are authentic for the times and it gives one a general insight in Thai history. Director was Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now).