The World of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Among the 21st century’s most essential artists, Apichatpong Weerasethakul has amassed a richly original and transcendently mesmerizing body of work that few filmmakers can match. From his feature debut, Mysterious Object at Noon (2000), to the Palme d’Or-winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), to his metaphysical latest, Memoria (2021), Weerasethakul’s formally daring oeuvre is marked by a meticulously controlled sense of cinematic sensuality and a powerful, understated gift for locating the political within the everyday. A towering figure in both world cinema and the art world, Weerasethakul continues to work in short- and feature-length filmmaking, always manifesting an experimental desire to rethink the possibilities of the medium. A singular cinephile in his own right, Weerasethakul has engaged with film history in profound ways.
In addition to four programs of Weerasethakul’s shorts and seven of his features, his selection of films include Chantal Akerman’s La Captive, a hypnotic exploration of erotic obsession that circles around the very-strange-indeed relationship between the seemingly pliant Ariane (Sylvie Testud) and the disturbingly jealous Simon (Stanislas Merhar); Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, an enduringly influential, black-and-white cult classic in which three go-go dancers tear across the California desert on a nihilistic crime spree, presented in 35mm; John Cassavetes’ Opening Night, a masterful psychodrama with Gena Rowlands in one of her finest performances, playing an aging stage star in the midst of preparing for a new role whose sense of self begins to crumble after she witnesses the car-accident death of an obsessive fan; and Primate, Frederick Wiseman’s 10th feature, chronicling the daily activities and experimental research undertaken by scientists at Atlanta’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center, presented in 16mm.
Organized by Florence Almozini, Dan Sullivan, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Special thanks to Jean Ma (Stanford University).
UCLA Film & Television Archive; Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique; the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Q&A with Apichatpong Weerasethakul on May 5A mesmerizing and sensuous meditation on love and desire, Apichatpong’s first fiction feature follows a romance between a Thai nurse and her Burmese boyfriend as they set out on a jungle picnic.
Cemetery of Splendor
Q&A with Apichatpong Weerasethakul on May 4In the grandest yet most becalmed of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s works, Jessica (Tilda Swinton), an expat botanist visiting her hospitalized sister in Bogotá, becomes ever more disturbed by an abyssal sound that haunts her sleepless nights and bleary-eyed days. It’s a personal journey that’s also historical excavation, yielding a film of profound serenity.
Mysterious Object at Noon
Q&A with Apichatpong Weerasethakul on May 6In Apichatpong’s first feature—part road movie, part folkloric exercise, part surrealist party game—a camera crew travels through Thailand asking villagers to invent episodes in an ever-expanding story that ends up incorporating witches, tigers, surprise doublings, and impossible reversals.
Syndromes and a Century
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Shorts Program 1: Worldly River
Shorts Program 2: Haunted Ashes
Shorts Program 3: Luminous Empire
Shorts Program 4: Vapour Lights
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
I Walked with a Zombie
Introduction by Apichatpong Weerasethakul on May 4In Jacques Tourneur’s second collaboration with producer Val Lewton (and perhaps his most poetic film), a Canadian nurse working on an island in the West Indies turns to voodoo with the hope of curing her patient.
A Man Vanishes
Introduction by Apichatpong Weerasethakul on May 5An essential work of cinematic nonfiction that pushes the envelope of what is possible in documentary filmmaking, A Man Vanishes finds Shōhei Imamura and his crew following a vanished businessman’s fiancee as she searches high and low for her missing partner.
Introduction by Apichatpong WeerasethakulThe life of an 84-year-old puppeteer serves as a map of the first half of the 20th century in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s consummately atmospheric 1993 masterpiece, one of the greatest films of the 1990s and a timeless work of cine-biography.
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