The films and installations of outstanding Thai artist Apichatpong Weerasethakul carefully observe the present, managing to erect a bridge to the past and the future. Weerasethakul exorcises history, conjures ghosts, blurs the line between dream and reality.
Art offers him space to work with memory and trauma. It is not, however, about plunging into the picturesque tropical fever or showing off a list of previous incarnations, but about an idyllic landscape in apparent peace where you can feel the vibrations of subcutaneous anxiety. His goal is to heal the wounds once inflicted, or to merely admit they were inflicted in the first place. Without this process communities or nations bog down in collective a dream, a group hallucination, depriving themselves of opportunities to grow. Thinking about the future always refers to the past, says the director, who perceives the spiritual life of the community as a psychological phenomenon, the art of communing and dealing with a violent history.
The director of the Cemetery of Splendor (2015), Mekong Hotel (2012), or perhaps the most famous of his achievements, which won the Golden Palm in Cannes, Uncle Boonmee, Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), meditates on the fate of his country, but universal mechanisms governing the collective and its subconscious can be easily found in his works. Weerasethakul is also a vigilant observer of modern conflicts. Modernity and tradition clash in his cinema and desire seeks a way to fully express itself. An unusual, innovative, auteur style the director has developed over the years through short films, documentaries, installations, photographs and plots was forged in the constant confrontation with the realities of modern Thailand. The oppressive political system forces him to reach for metaphors, develop his language of symbols, experiment with narration and thus escape these limitations.
For his latest film, Weerasethakul decided to shoot outside of Thailand for the first time. Memoria is set in Columbia, a country marked by the violence of colonization and drug war. The artist again took up the subject of trauma, inherited fears. But in a recent interview he admitted that he was fascinated by the spirit of resistance he found in Columbia. There is a strong tradition of protest, passed down from generation to generation, he said. Compared to Colombia, Thailand is like a child.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok in 1970. He lived with his parents in Khon Kaen, where they both worked at a hospital. He obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts at the Department of Film in Chicago three years later. He is one of the best-known independent Thai directors. He is also a screenwriter and film producer. He made his debut in 2000 with the successful and original documentary Mysterious Object at Noon. His Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won a Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2010.
2000 Dokfa nai meuman / Mysterious Object at Noon
2001 Haunted Houses
2002 Skrajne żądze / Sud sanaeha / Blissfully Yours
2003 Hua jai tor ra nong / I peripeteia tis Iron Pussy
2004 Choroba tropikalna / Sud pralad / Tropical Malady
2006 Światło stulecia / Sang sattawat / Syndromes and a Century
2010 Wujek Boonmee, który potrafi przywołać swoje poprzednie wcielenia / Loong Boonmee raleuk chat / Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
2012 Mekong Hotel
2015 Cmentarz wspaniałości / Rak ti Khon Kaen / Cemetery of Splendour