Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thessaloniki plans Apichatpong retrospective

Last year might have been declared the "Year of Apichatpong", but 2010 is shaping up to be even bigger.

With his new feature Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives set for the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival and his recent win of the Asia Art Award for his Phantoms of Nabua short, Greece's Thessaloniki International Film Festival seeks to celebrate the filmmaker even more with a complete retrospective.

And so goes the press release:

On the occasion of the selection of his latest film for the 2010 Cannes Film Festival competition, the 51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival would like to announce a complete Retrospective to the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, organized by the Independence Days section with the invaluable help of the director himself. The Thessaloniki film festival has long been a promoter of Weerasethakul’s work, having previously screened several of his films.

The Thai film director’s newest, Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives (Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chaat), competing in Cannes, is the feature film part of a multi-platform project Primitive, which deals with the concept of extinction and remembrance. It recounts the last days of Boonmee, who, suffering from kidney failure and aware of his impending death, asks to spend his remaining time at home. There he will meet ghosts of his past, such as his deceased wife, and will take a journey along past lives that have lasted for hundreds of years. Primitive itself deals with a specific area of northeastern Thailand; the town of Nabua, where it was shot, has a bloody history of confrontations between communist farmers and the Thai government, as well as a primordial legend about the ghost of a widow who would seize the men who dared enter her world.

Weerasethakul has been the most celebrated independent Thai filmmaker of the past decade and one of the most idiosyncratic auteurs worldwide. He has directed numerous features and shorts and has received several honors, such as a jury prize for Tropical Malady at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and the top prize of the Un Certain Regard section at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, as well as the TIFF Golden Alexander for Blissfully Yours.

He makes personal, affecting and aesthetically unique films, while several themes consistently permeate his work: the Western-oriented and influenced perceptions of his country and Asia, sexuality (and more specifically homosexuality), as well as memory and dreams and the interaction between man and nature.

The 51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival is set for November 19 to 28.

Meanwhile, the Primitive project commissioners Animate Projects have a new video with "Joei" Apichatpong talking about Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives as well as his influences. Check it out!

(Thanks Stephen!)

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