Thainess, the manifestation and expression of Thai national identity, is a focal issue in Thai culture. It also appears in Thai cinema, in story contents as well as in film form and style. When doing research about the form of contemporary Thai cinema, one comes across a wide range of different theoretical positions, including pure description, embracing of Poststructuralist and Neo-Marxist theory, and criticism of these very positions. Based on the assumption that the choice of theory also means self-positioning, I discuss a point of departure for regional film studies, inquiring into questions of local theorization and alternatives to predominant Western schools of criticism and theory. As a controversial topic emerges the question whether, and how, to integrate Western theory in the study of Southeast Asian cinema, since it touches on issues such as the hegemonization of culture and of the education system, and the inequality of economically weaker nations in the transnationalization and globalization of the film industry.