Apichatpong Weerasethakul showed his short film Vampire last week at the Alliance Francaise in Bangkok as part of the proceedings for his being awarded the Chevalier l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government.
The film was made for Louis Vuitton and is part of LV's Travelling show until August 31 at the Louis Vuitton Space. Other shorts are by Belgian director Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Anglo-Italian filmmaker Eduardo Winspeare and Chile's Carmen Castillo.
Parinyaporn Payee, writing for the Daily Xpress, talked to Apichatpong about Vampire. Here's most of the story from today's edition:
Set on the Thai-Burmese border, Vampire follows a refugee from Shan State as he hunts the nok phii – the ghost bird – which is believed to feed on other animals’ blood.
It’s 19 minutes of crawling through a jungle illuminated only by flashlight, with varying perceptions emerging of the hunter and his prey.
Apichatpong says he took the point of view of Vuitton as a modern colonist, although “that doesn’t mean I judge them as good or evil”.
The company executives took his critical view in stride.
“They separate the brand from the institution that supports artists. They have a spirit of acceptance that proved to be a good experience for me.”
Vampire ties in with the installation project Apichatpong is developing in Isaan. It symbolises the communism that is now extinct in Thailand, he says, and of course the Northeast was the focus for the government’s anti-communist efforts during the Cold War.
“Conceptually communism is good,” he says. “I’m interested in what happened in Thai society during that era, when communism was widely seen as an evil.”