‘Do you have any other stories to tell us? They can be real or fiction...’
So begins Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s remarkable debut Mysterious Object At Noon. The film plays out as a fever dream: blurring forms of fiction and documentary to engineer a poetic and distinct commentary on Thai society. The debut feature is a perfect introduction to this wholly unique cinematic narrator, and thankfully for the viewer, he had more stories to tell...
Sixteen years since Mysterious Object, Weerasethakul has positioned himself as one of the most gifted and compelling directors working in cinema today. In 2010, he won the Palme d’Or for the ethereal masterpiece Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, whilst three of his films recently featured on a BBC poll for the hundred greatest films of the Century. His films are works of structural and temporal fluidity; fusing past and present to reflect concerns of desire, history and fantasy. Static shots of everyday life are transformed into mystical landscapes, reflecting the spectral resurfacing of memory.
Apichatpong’s contribution to Plateau on Plateau comes in the form of a dream. It aptly reflects his surreal and contemplative craft, and, in truth, we would not be surprised to see elements appear in a later feature.
Two days ago I had a dream. It was a mixture of a horror film and meditation. I am now sorry that I didn’t write it all down after I woke up. It was quite an important dream because it was about awareness, yet I didn’t know I was dreaming. The experience was lucid but it was not the same as lucid dreaming.
There was a dwarf-like alien, with big eyes and wrinkly skin. He wanted to either capture or kill me. It followed me into an anonymous town. I soon found out that even though it had big eyes, it didn’t really ‘see’ me. It sensed me. The way to escape it was to be mindful and focus on my breath or the action that I was doing such as walking. When my mind went in different directions, this alien sensed the thoughts and it appeared in front of me. So throughout the dream, I was trying to be mindful.
I don’t remember much but it happened in a small town. And there were many people walking up the road on the hill. I was there amongst the crowd. We were in silhouettes.
With thanks to Sompot Chidgasornpongse and Kick The Machine Films