Once learned, a name like Apichatpong Weerasethakul is hard to forget. So when I saw his name in the Toronto Globe and Mail today, I remembered that we’d profiled the Thai filmmaker a few years back. Winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize for Tropical Malady, Apichatpong received high praise when his next film, Syndromes and a Century, was released. As we wrote in 2008:
Apichatpong continues this surprising journey with his latest film, Syndromes and a Century, which opened in North American theaters in April after a successful tour on the festival circuit. It was the first Thai film ever chosen to compete at the Venice International Film Festival, and the first ever to be nominated for the festival’s prestigious Golden Lion award. Soon the critics caught on. The Philadelphia City Paper called it “a shot of pure filmmaking joy,” and LA Weekly deemed it “boldly experimental.” IndieWIRE called Apichatpong “a maestro.” The New York Times has described him as “one of the most fascinating young filmmakers working today.
In May of this year Apichatpong (he goes by “Joe” here) won the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. This, from the Toronto Globe and Mail:
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has emerged at the top of international art cinema in the past decade—this latest film took the Palme d’or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Uncle Boonmee is a delightfully original, if not entirely explicable, story of a dying Buddhist man’s journey into the jungle. On the last night of his life, Boonmee is joined on his veranda by the ghost of his dead wife and son, who disappeared years before and now appears as a “monkey ghost” in an ape costume with glowing red eyes. Finally, Uncle Boonmee begins a journey into the forest to revisit his first birth place (as a fish?) to relive his past existences, including as at least one of the agents in an erotic underwater tryst between a catfish and a disfigured princess.
This year, Apichatpong was chosen by Google to serve on the jury of YouTube Play, a biennial project produced jointly by Google and the Guggenheim (“GooGu”?). The Google Blog describes You Tube Play as a “21st Century canvas for artists,” and has received thousands of submissions from 69 countries. Among those submitting is Tricycle friend Laurie Anderson. You Tube Play has already received thousands of entries and those chosen will appear at the Guggenheim, in New York City, next month. To read our profile of Joe, click here. For the New York Times‘s account of his taking the Palme d’Or (see picture below with Tim Burton, Juliette Binoche, Javier Bardem), click here.