Monday, October 10, 2011

Apichatpong-a-rama: A French promotion, Busan speech, Syndromes in Singapore

Apichatpong Weerasethakul has received a promotion in rank in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

After a ceremony on Friday, in which Ambassador Gildas Le Lidec pinned a medal on the filmmaker's lapel, Apichatpong is now an officer in the order. He was first inducted in 2008, when he received the rank of chevalier (knight).

Apichatpong's contributions to French culture include his win of last year's Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. His 2002 feature Blissfully Yours won the festival's Un Certain Regard prize. And in 2008, he served on the Cannes main competition jury. Also last year, his multi-platform Primitive art show was exhibited in Paris.

Other officers in the French order include singer Van Morrison, director Neil Jordan, actor Shah Rukh Khan, director Johnnie To and actress Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan.

Just last month another Thai was inducted into the order, Cultural Promotion Department director-general Apinan Poshyananda, who was also awarded the officer rank.

Following the French ceremony in Bangkok, Apichatpong winged his way to the Busan International Film Festival, where he gave a keynote address at the Busan Cinema Forum.

Film Business Asia was there:

After showing a string of images grabbed from Thai television, with bikinis and even cartoon women's bodies pixelated out by censors, Weerasethakul joked: "I grew up watching blurred images. Maybe that's why I don't know a woman's anatomy and I prefer men."

Go read the rest for his thoughts on Bangkok's dummy CCTV cameras and piracy of his movies in Thailand.

More appreciation of Apichatpong comes later in the month from Singapore, where the Perspectives Film Festival will screen his 2006 feature Syndromes and a Century, which was controversially censored in Thailand for its depictions of whisky-drinking, smooching doctors and guitar-strumming, spaceship-flying monks. Syndromes is playing alongside such other films as The Battle of Algiers, A Clockwork Orange, Czech Dream, Caterpillar and Blue Kite. The Perspectives fest runs from October 27 to 30.

Update: The Hollywood Reporter has more on Apichatpong's keynote at Busan.

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