Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Artist Talk
Filmmaker and Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul talks with film critic Dana Linssen about some of his short films. Among the topics this evening are the way in which Weerasethakul’s work relates to the history of Isan, a region in northeast Thailand, and how film is able to record and activate memories. The evening is in English.
Weerasethakul’s films, photographs, experimental videos and film installations are usually set in the northeast of Thailand, where the filmmaker grew up. Weerasethakul is interested in the history, recollection and sensory experience of this region; there is no separation in his world between the present and the past, between visible reality and dreamed reality. There are ‘ghosts’ to be found in many of his works: ancestors, wood nymphs, figures from ancient legends or mythical stories. The almost casual way in which they are integrated in his filmed reality shows that they are not strangers to Weerasethakul, but part of his life.
The exhibition Locus: Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Cao Guimarães features the film installation Primitive. Consisting of eight short and slightly longer ‘mini films’ or ‘sketches’, Primitive focuses on the lives of a number of teenagers in Nabua, a small village in northeast Thailand. In the 1960s and 1970s Nabua turned into a battleground when the Thai military clashed with the local population, who were suspected of being communists or harbouring communist sympathies. Weerasethakul films the village that is a place ‘full of suppressed memories’ and its teenagers as they gather to talk, play football and dream.
about the artist
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work was screened at the film festivals of Venice, Rotterdam, Toronto and Cannes. In 2010 he received the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. As a visual artist he participated in documenta 13 in Kassel (2012), while major presentations by Weerasesthakul were featured in such museums as Haus der Kunst in Munich, The New Museum, New York, and Tate Modern in London.