Weerasethakul on SLEEP-CINEMAHOTEL

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul talks about the film fragments he picked for SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL. When you check in here, the boundaries between waking and sleeping, between dream and film, disappear. “Hopefully you end up in a state where you let go of control. Asleep, you become part of a different kind of cinema in the making.”

IFFR: You chose film fragments depicting the sea, boats, clouds, sleeping people and animals. Why?
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: “The sea is a place that inspires you to think, to align various thoughts. The horizon is the border between day and night. It evokes contradictions, such as death and life, consciousness and dreams. Marine images also fit in well with SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL because Rotterdam is a port city.”

IFFR: In the stream of images no scene is repeated.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: “While watching, you pass through many levels of consciousness, never to return to an earlier stage. Each film fragment is shot by someone else, so it shows the unique viewpoint and expression of that one person. As a viewer, you then experience both a journey of images on the screen and a journey through your own dreams.”


SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, Thu 25 Jan - Mon 29 Jan, beds €75 per person per night, breakfast included.


IFFR: Your work was inspired by a still from Sergei Eisenstein's feature debut Strike, with silhouettes of construction workers. What role do shadows and light play in this hotel?
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: “Initially, I imagined an open-air cinema with a platform full of beds. The sleeping people would be the silhouettes on which the films were projected, as if they were in the belly of the cinema. But such a construction is of course impossible in winter. However, the idea of doing something with silhouettes remained. Another source of inspiration was my favourite movie The Unchanging Sea by D.W. Griffith. I also played with the idea of the longevity of light, in relation to the preservation of memories.”

IFFR: Is sleep underestimated in this day and age, when ratio, alertness and action are being praised?
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: “I think so. Specifically, sleeping during a film festival is interesting, because during the day you are overwhelmed with images, stories and people. At night, the brain continues its work, which can lead to a deeper experience.”

SLEEPCINEMAHOTEL, Thu 25 Jan - Mon 29 Jan, beds €75 per person per night, breakfast included. Check in on

Free entrance from 16:00 to 22:00 hours


Photo in header: Photo: Apichatpong Weerasethakul . Interview: Mariska Graveland