Reflections on home

movie & TV March 02, 2017 17:00

By The Nation

Award-winning Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is all set to wow art lovers in the Philippines with his “Serenity of Madness” travelling exhibition that’s on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Manila through May 17.

Produced by Independent Curators International, the exhibition features a rare series of nine video installations, eight photographic prints and subsequent archive materials focusing on socio-political issues.

Apichatpong is known for a singular realist-surrealist style that juxtaposes daily life with the supernatural. His work reveals stories often excluded from history books and give a voice to the poor and the ill, the marginalised and those silenced and censored for personal and political reasons.

Among the highlights are his first experimental short film “Bullet” created in 1994 to explore light and time and the 2004 feature “Ton”, which took shape after Apichatpong asked his colleague Ton to visit the army in the Kaeng Krajan Dam area to learn how soldiers live and what they do as part of daily routine. This research became a reference for the main character in “Tropical Malady”.

The 2014 silent video “Father” revives the original footage Apichartpong’s brother captured in 2003 when their father was undergoing kidney dialysis. This footage was used in a prominent scene in the director’s Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”.

The latest in the series, the short “Invisibility”, borrows the leading character from “Cemetery of Splendour” and “Fever Room” to give a new viewing experience shifting between seeing and not seeing, fact and fiction and space and void. The film reflects the troubled state of Thailand’s politics and paints a decayed vision of a future where one needs to constantly evade reality.

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