Monday, August 26, 2013

Apichatpong-a-rama: Mysterious Object restored, 69 other directors take part in Venice 70

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's groundbreaking debut feature, the experimental Mysterious Object at Noon  (ดอกฟ้าในมือมาร, Dokfa Nai Meuman, will be screened at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.

Here's more from the Austrian Film Museum, which took part in the restoration work:

In early September, the 70th Mostra del Cinema in Venice will host the world premiere of the restoration of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s debut feature, Mysterious Object at Noon, which was jointly carried out by the Austrian Film Museum and the World Cinema Foundation. The American premiere of Mysterious Object at Noon will follow at the beginning of October at the 51st New York Film Festival. The Thai director, who was awarded the Palme d’Or in 2010 [for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives], produced his first feature on a shoestring budget: a fascinating “road movie”, shot in grainy black and white, which melds “direct cinema” techniques with a fairytale story that unravels during a cross-country journey throughout Thailand. Shortly after the film’s completion, its original 16mm camera reversal element disappeared. Working from a 35mm duplicate negative with burned-in English subtitles, which Weerasethakul deposited with the Film Museum for safe-keeping in 2007, the restoration applied digital technology to make the film accessible again. A new 35mm internegative and print were also produced.

Another Austrian Film Museum project, Filipino auteur Lav Diaz' historic 2002 feature Batang West Side, which began the "Newest Philippine Cinema" movement, was presented at the recent Locarno Film Festival.

Back in Venice, both Diaz and Apichatpong will also take part in 70 Directors for Venice 70, in which 70 directors who made the recent history of the Venice Film Festival to celebrate fest's 70 years by offering a short film.

Apichatpong's 2006 feature Syndromes and a Century premiered in the Venice main competition, and he served as head of the Horizons jury in 2011.

Diaz has appeared in Venice many times, with Horizons awards for 2007's Death in the Land of Encantos, 2008's Melancholia and jury duty on 2010's Horizons panel.

Other directors taking part in the 70 Directors for Venice 70 include Peter Chan, Amit Dutta, Hong Sang-soo, Jia Zhangke, Shekhar Kapur, Kim Ki-duk, Brillante Mendoza, Sion Sono, Shinya Sakamoto, Bing Wang and Yonfan.

The addition of Apichatpong to this year's Venice proceedings follows the earlier announcement of the premiere of  Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy as part of the Venice Biennale College – Cinema project.

The Venice International Film Festival runs from August 28 to September 7.

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