Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Apichatpong in retrospective in Berlin

As part of the "Year of Apichatpong", the Arsenal Institute for Film and Video in Berlin is hosting a retrospective on Apichatpong Weerasethakul until April 15.

Several of Apichatpong's features are being shown: Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady, The Adventure of Iron Pussy (co-directed by Michael Shaowanasai) and Syndromes and a Century, as well his short films, including Mobile Men, The Anthem, Vampire, Ghost of Asia (with Christelle Lheureux) and Emerald (Morakot).

The program actually started last week, which a preview of his latest shorts, Primitive: A Letter to Uncle Boonmee and the online work Phantoms of Nabua, which are tied to his multi-platform Primitive art installation in Munich and which is later going to be at FACT in Liverpool.

For the Arsenal show, the Überbau blog has published Maximilian Linz' interview with Apichatpong. Here's an excerpt, in which he talks about the bifurcated structure of Tropical Malady:

For Tropical Malady, I found that diptychal form worth exploring. I wanted to describe certain ideas of difference, of contrast, of darkness and light, of suffering and love, and so on. The film should show how such a thing as the love of two human beings is transformed and shaped not only by society, but also by the way films tend to stereotype homosexuality. It became clear for me, that I as a filmmaker would have to break this mode. And by consequence, break this film in two parts, physically. Thailand has got this extreme contrast about it. In the past years since I started making movies, our country has heavily changend, with new technologies, architecture and the initiation of democracy, which means materialism and capitalism, coming up. At the same time we are still deeply rooted in animist, Hinduist, Buddhist or fake-Buddhist beliefs and practices. In Thailand it has become a habit to drive a European car to your temple in order to pray for money.

It's a really great interview, and one of his most accessible, I think. So read the whole thing, especially for Apichatpong's thoughts on Hollywood movies and how he has viewed films in general.

(Via Animate Projects, IFC)

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