A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, a 17:50-minute work by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, won two awards at the recent 55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.
The international-competition jury awarded Boonmee the Grand Prize of the City of Oberhausen, which has a 7,500-euro prize. A separate panel awarded A Letter to Uncle Boonmee the Prize of the Jury of the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has a 5,000-euro purse.
A Letter to Uncle Boonme is part of Apichatpong's multi-platform Primitive project, which was compiled from the filmmaker's work in the village of Nabua focusing on the "concept of remembrance and extinction set in the northeast of Thailand". The Primitive project also includes a massive art and video installation, which is showing until May 17 at the Munich art museum Haus der Kunst, and and then at FACT in Liverpool from September 25 to November 29. There's also another short, Phantoms of Nabua, which can be viewed online at the Animate Projects website.
Here is the statement of the international jury at Oberhausen:
For creating a cinematographic idiom that transcends conventional documentary realism or its representation. For evolving a temporality that is unhurried and reflexive and yet deeply disturbing as it references the brutalities of army and war through re-imagining the village of Nabua.
And the statement of the jury of the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia:
The jury of the Minister President of North Rhine-Westphalia awards its prize to a film which, while pretending to be a failed project, masterfully opens ever new visual and associative spaces. The film ranges between a biographical story, a reflection of cinematographic narratives right to the representation of political and historical contexts.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film A Letter to Uncle Boonmee is convincing in its clever design and sensuality.
Uncle Boonmee is the main character in the Primitive project, and a feature-film component, Uncle Boonmee: A Man Who Can Recall His Past Lives is being planned.
The 12,500 euro in prizes from Oberhausen will certainly go toward making that a reality.
(Thanks Ann and Gridthiya! Photo via Animate Projects.)