Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Sud pralad AKA Tropical Malady (2004)

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Quote:
Like Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s other films, Tropical Malady is a mechanism to channel thoughts and feelings that are hard to express in words – which means that trying to write about it is at best reckless and at worst stupid. As mechanisms go, it’s beautiful and seductive, and has many working parts. But we shouldn’t forget that the name of Khun Apichatpong’s production company is “Kick the Machine”. Continue reading

Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Rak ti Khon Kaen aka Cemetery of Splendor (2015)

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Storyline
Soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The memory-filled space becomes a revelatory world for housewife and volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier with no family visitors. Jen befriends young medium Keng who uses her psychic powers to help loved ones communicate with the comatose men. Doctors explore ways, including colored light therapy, to ease the mens’ troubled dreams. Jen discovers Itt’s cryptic notebook of strange writings and blueprint sketches. There may be a connection between the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic. Magic, healing, romance and dreams are all part of Jen’s tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her. Continue reading

Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit – Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy (2013)

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from Pan Asian Film Festival 2014
(page link)
Portraying a character struggling to make sense of her life as it threatens to spin out of control, Nawapol’s brilliant second film creates an inventive narrative of an uncontrollable life through a brilliantly modern artistic concept: to adapt a Twitter stream into a fictional film.

The director used 410 real Tweets from an anonymous girl as a springboard to create a fantasy world of a contemporary Asian teenager, and the results are funny and strange, a conflation of modern Thai teenage life, Wes Anderson-esque humour, and the possibilities for escape offered by the digital world. Continue reading

Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Sud pralad AKA Tropical Malady (2004)

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Plot

The story of a blossoming romance between a soldier and a country boy, crossed with a Thai folk legend about a shaman with shapeshifting abilities.

Review

Love is the drug, a game for two and, in the otherworldly new Thai film ”Tropical Malady,” unabashedly strange. A fractured love story about the mystery and impossibility of desire, the film was directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose earlier feature ”Blissfully Yours” opened recently in New York. Perched between two worlds, two consciousnesses and two radically different storytelling traditions, this new feature, which will be screened today as part of the New York Film Festival, shows a young filmmaker pushing at the limits of cinematic narrative with grace and a certain amount of puckish willfulness. Continue reading

Wichanon Somunjarn – Sin maysar fon tok ma proi proi AKA In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire (2012)

Nhum is a construction foreman working in Bangkok. The political instability in Thailand has made its presence felt in all business sectors. Nhum suddenly finds himself out of jobs. He decides to head back to the northeast to attend a wedding during the Thai New Year in April — the hottest month of the year.
At the wedding in Khon Kaen, Nhum runs into Joy, a senior from his high school whom he used to have a crush on. They exchange their phone numbers.
Suddenly, we see an interview with the director’s family members, and we learn that the film itself is a semi-autobiography of the director’s life. The character of Nhum is as much a construct as it is real. From this point on, the film becomes the voyage of a young man into the labyrinths of the real and the imagined, the documentary and the fiction, the past and the present – and not only of his self but also of the Thai society writ large.
Continue reading