Apichatpong Weerasethakul: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2018 | 01:15:27 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Interviews, On Art and Artists

Tags: VDB Interviews, Visiting Artists Program

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a venerated Thai artist and moving image maker who has directed many short works, and several feature films. In this interview, Apichatpong and Daniel Eisenberg — a Chicago-based artist and professor of film and video at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago — discuss Apichatpong’s films along with his perspective on the contemporary film industry and art world.

"Apichatpong’s films always hum with subversive tension that exists just beneath their calm appearances — the Thai-Burmese border disquiet in Blissfully Yours (2001), the foreboding gay love in Tropical Malady (2004), the Northeast’s communist past in Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) — and this friction between tranquility and anxiety, between bliss and pain, is a textural element that gives his work a rarified beauty."

— Kong Rithdee, Cinema Scope, 2015

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Stream Single Title

Title Awards Image Major Exhibitions/Festivals Description
Sea in the Blood

Equal First Prize for Best Male Short, Inside Out, Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Sea in the Blood

OutFest (LA, CA.), 2001

Rotterdam International Film Festival (The Netherlands), 2001

 

Athens Int'l Film/Video Festival (OH), 2001

 

 

Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change.

"Sea in the Blood was to be a meditation on race, sexuality and disease, but after working with the material for three years, it was the emotional story that came through. It's hard to work with such personal material, but in the end the work takes on a life of its own. 'Richard' is a character. Because of the subject matter — disease and death — I wanted to avoid sentimentality. I'd like the audience to think as well as feel."

— Richard Fung