Filmmaker and Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul talks with film critic Dana Linssen about some of his short films. Among the topics this evening are the way in which Weerasethakul’s work relates to the history of Isan, a region in northeast Thailand, and how film is able to record and activate memories. The evening is in English.
Weerasethakul’s films, photographs, experimental videos and film installations are usually set in the northeast of Thailand, where the filmmaker grew up. Weerasethakul is interested in the history, recollection and sensory experience of this region; there is no separation in his world between the present and the past, between visible reality and dreamed reality. There are ‘ghosts’ to be found in many of his works: ancestors, wood nymphs, figures from ancient legends or mythical stories. The almost casual way in which they are integrated in his filmed reality shows that they are not strangers to Weerasethakul, but part of his life.
The exhibition Locus: Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Cao Guimarães features the film installation Primitive. Consisting of eight short and slightly longer ‘mini films’ or ‘sketches’, Primitive focuses on the lives of a number of teenagers in Nabua, a small village in northeast Thailand. In the 1960s and 1970s Nabua turned into a battleground when the Thai military clashed with the local population, who were suspected of being communists or harbouring communist sympathies. Weerasethakul films the village that is a place ‘full of suppressed memories’ and its teenagers as they gather to talk, play football and dream.
about the artist
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work was screened at the film festivals of Venice, Rotterdam, Toronto and Cannes. In 2010 he received the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His PastLives. As a visual artist he participated in documenta 13 in Kassel (2012), while major presentations by Weerasesthakul were featured in such museums as Haus der Kunst in Munich, The New Museum, New York, and Tate Modern in London.
Filmmaker and visual artist Cao Guimarães talks with film critic Dana Linssen about some of his short films. Among the topics this evening are the way in which Belo Horizonte, where Guimarães lives, inspires him and how details can provide a mirror for the larger stories. The evening is in English.
Like Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Cao Guimarães has a special eye for the minor events, objects, colours and sounds that usually escape our notice; it is his strength to discover a kind of random poetry in the everyday. Minuscule insects, bubbles, raindrops, leaves of flower scattered on the ground, footprints and bits of fluff inhabit his films.
freedom in the margins
The filmmaker has a marked preference for places inhabited by people who are often ignored: people who evade the predictable, structured life as it should be lived in a modern capitalist-based society. People living in the margins of society: the homeless, the loners, but also children, all of whom represent to him the freedom to live life your own way, uninhibited by rules of conduct. Guimarães presents us with alternative ways of living, creating a space for us to get away from our highly organized life.
Key elements in his work include the landscape and other natural phenomena like sunlight, the weather, the reflection of light on the water; in Guimarães’ world the relationship between man and his natural environment is not hierarchical, but one of natural interconnectedness.
The work of the self-made filmmaker Guimarães operates at the interface of cinema and the visual arts. Although documentary in nature, his images appear to float between a known reality and a world in which the senses run free, unrestricted by rational thought.
about the artist
Cao Guimarães’ films and installations were featured at the film festivals of Locarno, Cannes, Rotterdam, Sundance and Venice. His work has also been exhibited and acquired by such prestigious museums as the Tate Modern in London, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Inhotim Institute in Belo Horizonte and the Fondation Cartier in Paris.