51st TIFF: Apithatpong Weerasethakul Retrospective

December 3-12, 2010


On the occasion of the selection of his latest film for the 2010 Cannes IFF Competition section, the 51st TIFF would like to announce a complete Retrospective to the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, organized by the Independence Days section with the invaluable help of the director himself. The Thessaloniki Film Festival has long been a promoter of Weerasethakul’s work, having previously screened several of his films.

The Thai film director’s newest, Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives (Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chaat), competing in Cannes, is the feature film part of a multi-platform project entitled Primitive, which deals with the concept of extinction and remembrance. It recounts the last days of Boonmee, who, suffering from kidney failure and aware of his impending death, asks to spend his remaining time at home. There he will meet ghosts of his past, such as his deceased wife, and will take a journey along past lives that have lasted for hundreds of years. Primitive itself deals with a specific area of northeastern Thailand; the town of Nabua, where it was shot, has a bloody history of confrontations between communist farmers and the Thai government, as well as a primordial legend about the ghost of a widow who would seize the men who dared enter her world.

Weerasethakul has been the most celebrated independent Thai filmmaker of the past decade and one of the most idiosyncratic auteurs worldwide. He has directed numerous features and shorts and has received several honors, such as a jury prize for Tropical Malady at the 2004 Cannes IFF and the top prize of the Un Certain Regard section at the 2002 Cannes IFF, as well as the TIFF Golden Alexander, for Blissfully Yours. He makes personal, affecting and aesthetically unique films, while several themes consistently permeate his work: the Western-oriented and influenced perceptions of his country and Asia, sexuality (and more specifically homosexuality), as well as memory and dreams and the interaction between man and nature.