Apichatpong Weerasethakul in person for introduction on May 5

An essential work of cinematic nonfiction that pushes the envelope of what is possible in documentary filmmaking, A Man Vanishes ranks among the greatest and most radical achievements by seminal Japanese director Shōhei Imamura, and one of the most vital investigations into cinema’s relationship with the concept of truth. Taking the sudden disappearance of a handsome businessman as their initial point of departure, Imamura and his crew follow the man’s fiancee as she searches high and low for her missing partner—but the deeper Imamura and company delve into this case, the more they find themselves lost in a labyrinth where the distinction between fiction and reality breaks down and nothing is what it seems.

I watched this film in the 1990s, with the boom of Iranian cinema that explored the line between reality and fiction. These films, along with Cassavetes’, have inspired me to explore the borders of filmmaking in the relationship between the director, the cast, and the audience.

At certain points in A Man Vanishes, it doesn’t matter if the scene is real. We realize that cinema, by nature, is a documentary of man and how he looks. —Apichatpong Weerasethakul