Sunday, June 7, 2009

Donald Richie: Tropical Malady is the new Rashomon

Apichatpong Weerasethakul has said that among his new projects is a work with the eminent Japanologist and film critic Donald Richie. When I last heard from Joe, as Apichatpong is called by Westerners, he was getting ready to go to Japan.

Richie is returning the favor by writing a review of the book, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in The Japan Times. Richie catches the newspaper's readers up on Joe's career and his films and sums up (cache):

The full Apichatpong story up to now is admirably presented in this new collection. It contains James Quandt's magisterial survey of the films themselves; Tony Rayns' full survey of the shorter works; Benedict Anderson's superb survey on the Thai reception of "Tropical Malady;" Karen Newman on the installations; Kong Rithdee on the religious affiliations of the director; several essays by the director himself; some interviews and exchanges; and comments by Mark Cousins and Tilda Swinton. There is also a full filmography and bibliography and a listing of the contents of the massive retrospective of which this is the catalog.

The major films themselves are available on DVD from, among other sources, Amazon, and I strongly recommend them. Tropical Malady is the new Rashomon.

The book is not yet available outside Europe. The few copies that have found their way to Asia have been handed out personally by Joe. Released last month by the Austrian Film Museum, the book can be ordered from Wallflower Press.

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