Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Phantoms of Nabua (2009)

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Like A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, Phantoms of Nabua is a portrait of home. The film portrays a communication of lights, the lights that exude, on the one hand, the comfort of home and, on the other, of destruction.

Synopsis :
A fluorescent tube illuminates an empty playground in the evening. Nearby a flash of light is projected on a makeshift screen. This outdoor movie is a portrait of a village repeatedly struck by lightning. As night falls, the silhouette figures of young men emerge, they are playing with a football raging with fire. They take turns kicking the ball which leaves illuminated trails in the grass. The lightning on the screen flickers amid the fire and the smoke rising from the ground. The game intensifies with each kick that sends the fireball soaring into the air. Finally the teens burn the screen and crowd around it to witness the blazing canvas, behind which is revealed the ghostly white beam of a projector.

Phantoms of Nabua is part of the multi-platform Primitive project which focuses on a concept of remembrance and extinction and is set in the northeast of Thailand. Continue reading

Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Ashes (2012)

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Ashes contemplates love, pleasure, and the destruction of memory. The surroundings of everyday life are shared with extreme intimacy. For Apichatpong, Thailand, while full of beauty, is slowly collapsing into darkness.

“King Kong rarely barked. She had been with us since she was three months old. Every night she slept and looked around in her dreams.

We thought that our spirits were enriched by the fertile soil and the greenest leaves and the rarest insects and the abundance of humility. But came a day in March we woke up from our dream. The sky wept ashes. The rotten ground trembled as baby worms rose to taste the gray snow. Across the mountains the light of devotion shone and blinded our souls. The darkness was so bright we wept and shouted in silence. And we woke up again, and again. Continue reading

Pen-Ek Ratanaruang – Invisible Waves (2006)

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SYNOPSIS

By RUSSELL EDWARDS (Variety)

Bad karma does a slow fade, but gives the occasional wink, in “Invisible Waves,” Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s highly anticipated followup to “Last Life in the Universe.” Thai helmer, Japanese heartthrob Asano Tadanobu and Oz lenser Christopher Doyle form a pleasing combination of malevolence supported by dry wit. English-lingo limitations of the thesps will hamper sales in some territories, but the pic should go gangbusters throughout Asia and on the festival circuit.

In film noir tradition, the pic opens with Macau-residing Japanese assassin-cum-chef Kyoji (Asano Tadanobu) holding a man at gunpoint. Seiko (Tomono Kuga), the Japanese wife of Kyoji’s boss, arrives at Kyoji’s apartment to continue their steamy affair. Instead, Kyoji poisons her dinner. The next day, the newly widowed Wiwat (Toon Hiranyasup) has closed the up-market Hong Kong restaurant in which Kyoji works his day job. Continue reading

Pen-Ek Ratanaruang – Headshot (2011)

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Plot / Synopsis

Tul is about to see his world turned upside down. When we first meet him, he’s been sent a package of photos and data, which he examines and then promptly puts through the shredder. He shaves his head, dons a monk’s robes, and walks onto the gated estate belonging to the man in the photos. Tul then takes a pistol and fires a bullet into the man’s neck. More shots are fired, one of them hitting Tul in the head. Everything turns black. When Tul wakes up three months later, all that he sees is inverted. Is it some bizarre brain injury, or some form of karmic retribution? In the disorienting world of Headshot, such questions linger, and draw us closer to its violence and mystery. Continue reading

Aditya Assarat – Wonderful Town (2007)

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It takes place some time after the 2004 Tsunami in a now nearly deserted tourist town. An outsider (an engineer) comes to town and becomes involved with local life. The unfinished mourning process and grieving permeate the film’s atmosphere, diegetic pace is slow and lyrical. The town’s beachfront is being redeveloped, but the residents’ inner life seems stunted. Seemingly unable to contain mourning and guilt, the film steadily moves toward a notion of sacrifice and violence (see René Girard). The plot’s outcome is depicted with much moral restraint and emotional distance and the lack of closure left uncommented.

–stefflbw Continue reading

Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Loong Boonmee raleuk chat AKA Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

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Quote:
Confession: my only previous exposure to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the Thai director who’s one of the most lauded auteurs currently working, was a DVD copy of Tropical Malady, which frankly bored my pants off. Watching Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives on the big screen at the New York Film Festival’s Alice Tully Hall, it occurred to me almost immediately that waiting to see anything by Weerasethakul on DVD is a terrible idea. For Uncle Boonmee, the large theater screen works like a window onto a bigger world populated by larger-than-actual-size memories and myths. And the photography is not the kind of crisp, high-contrast work that translates well to home video (though Blu-ray might do OK by it) — shots taken within the Thai jungle, for instance, are unfailingly dense and moody, with different and ever-darker shades of green layered on top of each other like thick brush strokes in an oil painting. Sometimes it feels as if the whole film were shot at twilight, or using day-for-night shooting and processing trickery. Continue reading