Six years ago, while the Walker was still under construction, a little-known Thai filmmaker was brought to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a Walker Film/Video Regis Dialogue and Film Retrospective. Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul (A-pich-at-pong Wair-a-seth-ical) is a director who has always blended truth and fiction, split narratives and characters in two.
It is what we do. We always repeat things. When we fall in love, it’s always the same. And when we think about something, we always keep thinking.
–Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Interview with Reverse Shot, 2007
His filmic past is littered with bifurcated films. From one of his earliest films, Mysterious Object at Noon, Weerasethakul has baan fascinated by the blurred line between truth and fiction. In this “exquisite corpse” documentary, the filmmaker meandered across thailand collecting stories and building onto a narrative shaped by all of the people he met. A film that is equal parts documentary and rambling ungrounded narrative, Mysterious Object at Noon gets to the heart of Weerasethakul’s fascination with duality.
His newest film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, has won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival. Set in Isan, Thailand’s northeast region and Weerasethakul’s childhood home, the film centers on the last days of its title character. His contemplation focuses not only on remembering his past, and his past lives, but also on how those lives might have affected his current incarnation. “My idea is to represent the belief of transmigration of the soul,” explains Weersethakul. So, like the director’s stylistic choices, Uncle Boonmee is forced to repeat–to repat the memories of his past lives. Check out the trailer below, and keep your eyes peeled for more Apichatpong Weersethakul here at the Walker.