I always dread being a member of a film festival’s jury. But in exchange for a chance to visit countries I have never been to, or to spend time in my favorite cities and cultures, I have started to get used to and enjoy the pain. For I simply believe you cannot judge among various films which one is best. Each director has a purpose in mind, whether to vent a political agenda, to sell millions of tickets, to slap you in the face, to search for his or her lost dreams, and so on. From these various kinds of films, there are always some special ones that leave strange creatures within you. This is another sort of pain. They manifest themselves when you least expect it, while buying groceries, taking a shower, driving, making love—out of the blue, you utter, “Oh, I remember the scene when . . .” They force you to see things differently while your brain wants to be idle and take pleasure in the meaningless things of life. From the first shadow play hidden in the cave to Spiderman, we have transformed our world and our ideas, and unified, for better or for worse, through the power of these beasts. At the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, I know there will be lots of them let loose. So watch out.
Born in 1970. After getting an undergraduate degree in architecture, he studied filmmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago and began working as a multimedia artist. His numerous 16mm short films and video works include Bullet (1993) and 0116643225059 (1994). He founded 9/6 Cinema Factory in 1995, and has co-curated the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival. He provides publicity and distribution support for young artists with his film company, Kick the Machine. His film thirdworld (1998) screened in New Asian Currents at YIDFF ’99. His numerous video installations have been presented around the world, including at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Mysterious Object at Noon (2000) won the Runner-up Prize at YIDFF 2001. Blissfully Yours (2002) and Tropical Malady (2004) have each been screened at festivals around the world, including Cannes and Tokyo FILMeX, and have won numerous awards. Special screenings of his work have recently been held or are being planned in various locales around Japan.
Syndromes and a CenturySang Sattawat
THAILAND, FRANCE, AUSTRIA / 2006 / Thai / Color / 35mm (1:1.85) / 105 min
Director, Script: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Photography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
Production Design: Akekarat Homlaor
Sound: Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr
Editing: Lee Chatametikool
Music: Kantee Anantagant
Cast: Nantarat Sawaddikul , Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon, Sophon Pukanok, Arkanae Cherkam
Producers: Apichatpong Weerasethakul , Pantham Thongsang, Charles de Meaux
Executive Producers: Simon Field, Keith Griffiths
Production Companies: Kick the Machine, TIFA, Anna Sanders Films
World Sales: Fortissimo Films
The first half is set in a small rural hospital, and the second half in a modern hospital in the city center. Each part begins with scenes of newly appointed doctors as they are being asked questions, and goes on to depict their daily lives. Like Blissfully Yours and Tropical Malady, the director’s uniquely mysterious world plays like a series of musical variations rather than as a straightforward story.