With the Cannes Film Festival going on now, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's name has been in the news again, just because he won the Palme d'Or last year for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past LIves.
The Cannes win launched Apichatpong on a global journey, touring the world with Uncle Boonmee to talk about it at film festivals and special screenings – too many for me to keep track of (though the unofficial Nashville Film Festival poster by Sam's Myth obviously caught my eye).
It's a trip Apichatpong's still on, and most recently it's taken him back to New York City, where he's begun a monthlong residency at SoHo's New Museum, where his Primitive video-art installation is being exhibited from May 19 to July 3. The Wall Street Journal online has more on Primitive.
He's also taking part in the Blissfully Thai film series at the Asia Society, which started yesterday with Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy, and today he and Pen-ek will sit in the same room together in front of a live audience for a "conversation". Who knows what might happen? Should be interesting.
At the New Museum on Sunday, he'll present Around the World of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a four-hour show-and-tell in which he'll discuss excerpts from all his features. On May 19 and May 22, he'll present selections of his short films. And on May 26 he'll present Quick Billy, a 1960s “horse opera" by Bruce Baillie, an experimental filmmaker that Joei cites as a major influence. IndieWire has more about these programs.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives comes to Region A Blu-ray and Region 1 DVD in July.
This is the U.S. edition by Strand Releasing, which looks to be stepping up its game with the Blu-ray – a first I believe for both Strand and Apichatpong. Bonus features on the Blu-ray include the companion Primitive short A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, deleted scenes, an interview with Apichatpong and trailers of his other films. The Strand DVD does not list the Letter short as an extra.
And curiously, the cover art that's shown at Amazon is not the Chris Ware poster design. Rather, it's the red-eyed monkey ghost that's been used a lot already.
Anyway, if you're into Blu-ray, then by all means get the Blu-ray of Boonmee, I guess. But for viewers still stuck with just plain-old DVDs, maybe the Region 2 British release would be better if you have a player that can handle it. Maybe wait for the comparison.
A few other odds and ends I've been accumulating over the past couple months or so:
- Does everyone care about Uncle Boonmee? Should everyone? Read it at Everyone Likes Movies.
- And then go read Chuck Stephens' review of Boonmee at Film Comment.
- Chicago Sun-Times blogger Jim Emerson waxes rapturously about Boonmee.
- Hell on Frisco Bay's Brian Darr talks about Apichatpong and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives on Look of the Week, a videocast by Sara Vizcarrondo. Brian's segment – check out his T-shirt – comes somewhere in the middle of the video.