Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr at IFFR
It is worthwhile learning to pronounce the name Apichatpong Weerasethakul, because this young Thai is one of the hippest newcomers in the international world of art and film. A slinking and sultry film about beautiful soldiers and a tiger from another world.
Ghost of Asia
Ode to the spirit of life. Made in the framework of remembering the tsunami disaster. Young female Thai film maker lets children make a film with a spirit that floats over the water.
A song to honour the cinema god.
Syndromes and a Century
There are filmmakers who return to their childhood for beautiful atmospheric films, but the imaginative Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul returns to the time before his parents found each other. Yet his childhood is also evoked in two parts. A sunny part for his mother and a cool and occasionally bizarre part for his father.
Interactive installation. Two spaces. A light space with sounds. A dark space with images. Hundreds of buttons can be used to change the sound or images. The images have been taken from clandestine shots of the Thai army killing demonstrators.
Cabin had to become a film for the King of Thailand, but the maker filmed him at home in his home village. 'If the king is good, he has to be good everywhere,' he must have thought.
The Thai censor couldn't cope, but the film comprises erotic scenes of the highest level. A man and a woman kill time quarrelling in a hotel. When the man takes a fatherly interest in a beautiful 19 year old girl, the woman loses it. With almost real dreams.
An architect from Bangkok spends some time in a forgotten coastal town in southern Thailand for a building commission. A doomed place that has not recovered from the tsunami three years ago. When something beautiful blossoms between the architect and the owner of his hotel, they are not to find happiness.
A simple story about the hesitant overtures between a bitter invalid and his new nurse is the prelude to a hallucinogenic meditation about our place in the universe. As impressive and mysterious as life itself.
Hallucinating film by the Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang (6ixtynin9, Last Life in the Universe) that is largely set in a forest inhabited by female ghosts. The story is about a marriage that has cooled and then is shaken up when the man disappears into the forest for a brief period.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Three tasty shorts. The lunch is from a female Tiger winner, but the breakfast and dinner are also top-notch. However, there is an aftertaste, because these are three refined recipes for ending a relationship. A dinner can also be very unromantic.
I Carried You Home
Another kind of road movie. Two sisters - played by two striking actresses - accompany their dead mother by ambulance across Thailand. They have grown apart, but the journey and the circumstances force them to come closer to each other. A secret will be revealed.
36 is the number of shots on an analogue roll of film. It's also the number of shots in this film. Yet it's not a strict film, but the playful quest of a young photographer for the photos that disappeared on her computer: a whole year's worth, including one of a challenging encounter.
A Fallible Girl
Young Chinese woman has started a mushroom farm in the desert of the Gulf states. Ambition, love, identity, uprooting and a clash of cultures in a visually impressive second film by the cosmopolitan Clark, who lives in China. A report from the New World.
United Arab Emirates
Last day of official mourning for a child. Mother receives her final visitors: the guilty parties. Masterfully captured in a single shot.
Father jumps off roof. Economy caves in. Childhood sweetheart remains out of reach. Nice girl next door slides into prostitution. Elder brother knows better. Younger brother has no idea. Only a very special filmmaker could turn that into something light-footed and moving.
Cemetery of Splendour
In his most topical and politically charged film to date, Weerasathekul represents Thailand as a building that used to be a school, a place of study and contemplation, but which has changed into a hospital built on top of a cemetery, where the dead fight out their age-old battle at the expense of the living.
The Island Funeral
A couple of young people drive out of town for a long journey. It could well be a Thai Jules and Jim. On the way, it however becomes clear that the world outside the car is not so light-hearted, that one Thai is after another Thai’s blood. A late second film by a now-wiser filmmaker.
Erotic fantasies can come to life in the rooms of Motel Mistress. But whether these will be pleasurable for those involved is another matter.
By the Time It Gets Dark
Powerful second feature by Anocha Suwichakornpong, who won a Tiger in 2010 with Mundane History, starts with the Thammasat University massacre of 1976 in Bangkok. In an effortless and elegant manner, the filmmaker then takes the viewer through meandering storylines that examine both Thailand and the medium of film itself.