Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Apichatpong-a-rama: Uncle Boonmee in the U.K., Taipei and elsewhere

Following its appearance in the London Film Festival, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives opens for a general theatrical run in the U.K. and Ireland on November 19.

Supporting the release is Sight & Sound magazine, which has "Extraordinary Joe" on the cover. In the issue, Adrian Martin "probes the syndromes and mysteries of the Thai director’s universe" and Kieron Corless talks to the filmmaker about "Buddhism, Fellini and the joys of working with non-professionals".

New Wave Films has a listing of where you can see Uncle Boonmee.

There's a U.K. trailer too, and it's embedded below.

There's also websites for Germany and Italy (thanks Logboy!).

Uncle Boonmee is closing the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. In fact, the Golden Horse fest has a "A Tribute to Apichatpong Weerasethakul" in its Filmmakers in Focus section, screening all his features: Mysterious Object at Noon, Blissfully Yours, The Adventure of Iron Pussy, Tropical Malady and Syndromes and a Century.

There's also another award-winning Thai indie filmmaker taking part in the Golden Horse fest – Anocha Suwichakornpong, whose Mundane History is in the NETPAC competition and is playing as part of the "When You Are a Stranger" line-up in the The Battle for Life section.

Recent festival appearances for Boonmee include the Vancouver fest, where they added an extra week of screenings to satisfy the demands of hungry filmgoers. It was also in Sitges and the just-wrapped Hong Kong Asian Film Festival.

On Twitter recently, Screen Daily's Jason Gray said: Wife liked Uncle Boonmee – "Cinematography was beautiful. It's his most accessible film ... I want to open his head and look at his brain."

Boonmee was also in the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, an appearance that I believe is crucial to its qualifying for a possible nomination for the Academy Awards.

Among the upcoming appearances for Boonmee will be Tokyo Filmex, where Apichatpong will serve on the jury for the first competition in the fest run by Office Kitano.

Also, he's doing a master class in Buenos Aires on Friday.

Here's what he says about his class, called Delirium:

My films are an extension of my memories. Even attempting to include memories of when I was shooting. I try to capture what I’ve experienced. While I film, I also try to capture some of the uncomfortable moments experienced by actors in front of the camera. Sometimes I put the actors under pressure to get the result I want…

I love mystery. It is related to my childhood. I grew up in a hospital complex (my parents are doctors). Those strange buildings, where there were body parts preserved in jars, were a playground for those of us who were children. The nights were quiet and ghost stories were always told. I love the simplicity of traditional stories and legends. Many legends are so simple that they are like concepts…

I believe in ghosts because of two experiences. It’s a low figure, but they are two real cases. A ghost appears as an image or a scent…

I did not start making films in the Thai industry. So my view is different. Thai cinema is deeply rooted in the theater, in plays that originated in the palace. Until recently, the general rule was acting with exaggerated gestures. As far as my films go, they are influenced by simple old Thai movies (narrative approach, step by step, following the story), the films of Cherd Songsri (veteran Thai director) and many works of foreign directors, especially the experimental Americans.

A few other notes:

  • An accolade slipped by Apichatpong this year, as the Hugo Boss Award went to Hans-Peter Feldmann. Apichatpong was a nominee for the art honor, along with Walid Raad, Cao Fei, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Roman Ondák. He was present for the November 4 awards ceremony at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
  • Apichatpong presented awards at the 1st Doi Saket International Film Festival, held in his adopted new hometown of Chiang Mai.
  • He was cited from the stage of the World Film Festival of Bangkok's opening ceremony by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, this year's Lotus Award winner at the Bangkok World fest. "You are very lucky to have good filmmakers like Apichatpong," Ceylan said, noting that he didn't know much about Thailand or Thai cinema until he watched "one film", Tropical Malady.


  1. Peter Nellhaus reminds me that Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is playing at the Starz Denver International Film Festival.

    And, according to Logboy, there's an Amazon.co.uk page all ready for a DVD release.


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