Apichatpong Weerasethakul

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Peacock
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#51 Post by Peacock » Tue May 11, 2010 1:06 pm

knives wrote:(though if takes the same two story as one story structure as his other films I have seen count me out)
Your in luck, it doesn't. :wink:

Nothing
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#52 Post by Nothing » Wed May 12, 2010 12:31 am

Peacock wrote:Perhaps it's his interest in Buddhism which makes him want to distance himself from the political conflicts.
Religion is one of the tools that the elite have used to soliify their position, and encourage acquiesence, for centuries. The theory being that a peasant is a peasant because of something he did wrong in a past life; that those in positions of greater wealth and power are there because they are more enlightened; there is no use trying to upset this situation, in aspiring to social mobility, because to do so would be to fight against the will of the Buddha himself - better to lead a 'good' (ie. obedient) life and wait for your next reincarnation.

In siding with this argument, Weerasethakul takes the side of the elite whether he realises it or not. Or, to put it another way, it's very easy to be peaceful and calm when you've been dealt a winning hand - harder to show genuine empathy for people who don't belong to your own social and ethnic group, especially if your peers, colleagues and relations look down upon those people, and even form political groups to lobby against their right to vote (the Lao-speaking majority are too ignorant, you see, they can't be trusted to make a choice that is in the interests of the 'Nation').

Would the international film community be so quick to get behind a white South African filmmaker who supported Apartheid, even tacitly? The only substantial difference here is international ignorance of the situation - an ignorance that becomes increasingly inexcusable with every story, every foreign office warning, that hits the headlines.

yoshimori
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#53 Post by yoshimori » Wed May 12, 2010 2:27 am

Nothing wrote:If great filmmaking can arise out of such fuzzy-headed naivety, it would indeed be a world first.
You're kidding, right?

Was not Wagner a great composer? Verdi? Beethoven? Mozart? Bruckner? Strauss [R]? etc etc etc.

Nothing
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#54 Post by Nothing » Wed May 12, 2010 3:48 am

yoshimori wrote:Was not Wagner a great composer? Verdi? Beethoven? Mozart? Bruckner? Strauss [R]? etc etc etc.
Musical theatre remains, primarily, a musical medium. The theatre is a carrier, almost entirely subsumed by the music. Opera singers are cast primarily for their vocal ability, acting ability coming a very poor second. Few would argue that Fidelio (for example) has even passably decent lyrics or a strong plot - but it remains a great opera, simply because Beethoven was a great musical composer.

Cinema, I would argue, is very different. It provides a far more balanced combination of the visual/musical arts with the fields of literature, theatre, philosophy, politics. A good eye alone is not enough (radical thinking, I know!)

yoshimori
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#55 Post by yoshimori » Wed May 12, 2010 11:17 am

Nothing wrote:Cinema ... provides a far more balanced combination of the visual/musical arts with the fields of literature, theatre, philosophy, politics.
But since it doesn't have to, no need to require it. There can be great literary cinema, great political cinema, great visual cinema, and great hybrid cinema. But you know this, I think.

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Tom Amolad
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#56 Post by Tom Amolad » Wed May 12, 2010 6:50 pm

Nothing, despite my considerable ignorance of the facts at hand, I'm finding myself more sympathetic to your argument here than I have in other threads. I may admire movies where politics aren't of primary importance, but I think you're right that it's glib to ignore an objection that a movie treats fundamentally political questions in a naive way.

Which is why I'm puzzled by...
Nothing wrote:
yoshimori wrote:Was not Wagner a great composer? Verdi? Beethoven? Mozart? Bruckner? Strauss [R]? etc etc etc.
Musical theatre remains, primarily, a musical medium.
Wagner, really? One of Wagner's crucial contributions to music history was to move opera's emphasis away from "just the music" and toward a total sensual and intellectual experience, the Gesamtkunstwerk the where the spectacle and the philosophy were as crucial as the music. As a result, I find it difficult to compartmentalize the aesthetic and social experience of Wagner, and I wind up with quite unsettled feelings about his operas.

As for the others, while classical music has a notable tradition of claiming for itself a pure space unsullied by extra-musical associations, that claim has come increasingly under fire over the last few decades, and rightly so, I think. While it would be simplistic to say that Beethoven's music is essentially "manly" or "about liberty," it would be equally simplistic to deny that such associations are relevant to the way people have historically experienced Beethoven's music. Is one a bad hearer of the Eroica Symphony if one can't quite repress the pleasure one gains by associating it with the spirit of the French Revolution?
Nothing wrote:Few would argue that Fidelio (for example) has even passably decent lyrics or a strong plot - but it remains a great opera, simply because Beethoven was a great musical composer.
Here again, I don't agree. It's true that if acted as a play, Fidelio would fall pretty flat, but it's not a play. An opera libretto is a different sort of animal and demands a different sort of dramaturgy, one in which the music is asked to emotionalize the scenario that the text sets out. To the extent that Fidelio works (and I don't think it entirely does), it's because we care about the characters and their desires as the music has conveyed them, not just because the music is pretty.

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Matango
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#57 Post by Matango » Sun May 23, 2010 9:58 pm

Congratulations on the Palme d'Or, sir! =D>

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Peacock
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#58 Post by Peacock » Mon May 24, 2010 11:31 am

Who do you think will release the film on DVD then?
Seeing as BFI is having a Q & A via Skype with Joei on the 25th May
My guess is BFI in the UK and Strand in the US.
I hope if BFI do release it that they'll include the two short films which are part of the Primitive project, and I really hope they are in HD!

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Awesome Welles
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#59 Post by Awesome Welles » Mon May 24, 2010 2:41 pm

It's been picked up by New Wave in the UK.

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Matt
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#60 Post by Matt » Mon May 24, 2010 6:00 pm

Well, at least I know there will be one decent DVD I'll eventually be able to see it on.

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Finch
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#61 Post by Finch » Tue May 25, 2010 12:27 pm

Joe interviewed after his Cannes win:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/may ... -interview" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Matango
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#62 Post by Matango » Wed May 26, 2010 10:07 pm

Did Tim Burton know that AW was going to win before he opened the envelope? Either way, you'd think he might have practiced pronouncing his name for five minutes before the presentation. It sounded like he was doing it from memory after having been introduced to the guy on a drunken night out a few years back. Shocking bad form, really.

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MichaelB
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#63 Post by MichaelB » Thu May 27, 2010 1:29 am

Speaking as someone who recently had to introduce Xawery Żuławski and his wife Maria Strzelecka in front of an audience, practiced both names obsessively beforehand, but when actually announcing them got the first one right but mangled the second, I have every sympathy with Burton. Especially as he isn't a professional performer.

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Awesome Welles
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#64 Post by Awesome Welles » Thu May 27, 2010 2:41 am

Matt wrote:Well, at least I know there will be one decent DVD I'll eventually be able to see it on.
Eventually being the key word. They are expected to premiere the film at the LFF in October with theatrical in late 2010/11.

jackford
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#65 Post by jackford » Thu May 27, 2010 2:30 pm

Can't wait to see Uncle Boomee. I thought Blissfully Yours and espicially Tropical Malady were extrodinary, and I hope to see Syndromes and a Century soon, as I've heard it is fantastic.

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#66 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:35 pm

I haven't seen any of Weerasethakul's films, but I'm open to recommendations. Where should I start on DVD?

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zedz
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#67 Post by zedz » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:46 am

I'd go for Tropical Malady (Second Run) or Syndromes and a Century (BFI). They've both got odd 'da capo' structures, they hit on a lot of core themes and visual ideas, but they've also got more accessible hooks than Blissfully Yours (which, although I liked it well enough at the time, has been pretty thoroughly eclipsed by the subsequent features, in my opinion). Mysterious Object at Noon is a bit of a curio, a fascinating narrative experiment that doesn't really live up to expectations on screen and stylistically doesn't exactly anticipate the films that followed, and Iron Pussy is a hysterical footnote that would give you entirely the wrong impression of the filmmaker!

Grand Illusion
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#68 Post by Grand Illusion » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:14 am

I quite enjoyed Syndromes and a Century. It's a bifurcated examination of memory and relationships with classical rural/urban themes. Even though we get mere glimpses, I felt that this film did a better job of looking into the window of the characters' lives. It's Lynchian with its utterly haunting sound design. The cinematography, camera movement in particular, is graceful and innovative.

I merely liked Tropical Malady. The first half is a wonderful and understated love story. Very empathetic to the characters, even with a removed, objective camera. The second half is, well, I don't want to spoil it, but I found it to come off as rather silly. Perhaps if you have an interest in Thai spirituality, the latter half of the film might be your thing. Personally, I thought it was heavy-handed, if not clumsy, in the way the bizarre events are shown with an unwavering straight face. It's a visual feast though and does, somewhat, have a relation to the previous story.

Haven't gotten around to my Blissfully Yours DVD yet. Can't comment.

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knives
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#69 Post by knives » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:40 am

Grand Illusion wrote: I merely liked Tropical Malady. The first half is a wonderful and understated love story. Very empathetic to the characters, even with a removed, objective camera. The second half is, well, I don't want to spoil it, but I found it to come off as rather silly. Perhaps if you have an interest in Thai spirituality, the latter half of the film might be your thing. Personally, I thought it was heavy-handed, if not clumsy, in the way the bizarre events are shown with an unwavering straight face. It's a visual feast though and does, somewhat, have a relation to the previous story.
I had the opposite reaction. The first section I genuinely hate, just thinking of it causes me to break my fingers. He comes across as a bold faced liar who has never seen an other human, but the predator section is the only thing by him I like. It manages to be this all encompassing song and speaks more for human relations than any thing by him I've run into. I wish the whole film had been that, but the man seems unable to say anything once.

Though I really do want to see Iron Pussy for how insane and uncharacteristic it seems.

Grand Illusion
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#70 Post by Grand Illusion » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:55 am

knives wrote:I had the opposite reaction. The first section I genuinely hate, just thinking of it causes me to break my fingers. He comes across as a bold faced liar who has never seen an other human, but the predator section is the only thing by him I like. It manages to be this all encompassing song and speaks more for human relations than any thing by him I've run into. I wish the whole film had been that, but the man seems unable to say anything once.
That's interesting. For a severe lack of a better term, I'll use one that I'm not particularly fond of. For a lot of these Contemporary Contemplative Cinema films, ones which trade in restrained stoicisms and subtleties, I'm finding that personal responses seem to vary much more greatly than they do for films of other "types." I know that seems like a rather pedestrian, Philistine, and imprecise way of looking at a variety of films, each with their own traits, but it's something that I find to be true nonetheless.

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John Cope
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#71 Post by John Cope » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:09 am

I love everything he does but as a first time experience I think I'd have to push for Blissfully Yours. In many respects it feels like his purest, most direct engagement and has that quality we tend to like attaching to the works of Kiarostami--"deceptive simplicity". Whenever I watch this I find its accumulated riches just remarkable, especially as I am never conscious of them as they are dispensed. It's just a slow immersion, washing over you and paced to accommodate the kind of transfixed experience he's obviously going for. But it' s all those seemingly minor details along the way that gives it weight and resonance. I think contrasting it to the later more overtly complicated and sophisticated works isn't a good way to gauge its significant merits.

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Peacock
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#72 Post by Peacock » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:58 am

I'd agree with John, to begin with Blissfully Yours. It's a beautiful film, very relaxed and reflective, the second half is particularly nice (you'll find lot's of people talking about Weerasethakul's films in halves!)

Syndromes and a Century was the first of his films to disappoint me slightly, it felt a bit too structured for me, compared to the looseness of his earlier films. Although the orchids bit made up for it!
Am I really the only one to feel like this? That it felt 'big budget', all those tracking shots of buildings and sculptures, which may be referencing reverence for idols, and the cold shots inside the new hospital. I also didn't find the two lead characters that interesting.
Looking forward to seeing Uncle Boonmee - and returning to the villages!

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#73 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:30 am

Thanks, everyone. I'm definitely going with Syndromes and a Century, but I have to think further on the second title to pick up.

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swo17
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#74 Post by swo17 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:52 am

As with most things in life, the answer can be found in our forum's lists projects, where we ranked Weerasethakul's films from the 2000s thusly:

34. Syndromes and a Century
35. Tropical Malady

All other films of his apparently failed to garner multiple votes in the 2010 poll, though in the mid-decade poll (before Syndromes had been released), we had:

10. Tropical Malady
85. Blissfully Yours
86. Mysterious Object at Noon

mteller
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Re: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

#75 Post by mteller » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:22 am

From best to worst, I rank them:

Syndromes and a Century
Mysterious Object at Noon
Blissfully Yours
Worldly Desires (short)
Tropical Malady
The Adventures of Iron Pussy
Thirdworld (short)


Only the last one is disappointing. Iron Pussy feels like something he needed to get out of his system (like Woody doing Everyone Says I Love You) but it's still fun.

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