A Conversation with Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Pen-ek Ratanaruang at Asia Society

Going to the talk today was really rejuvenating. Both Apichatpong and Pen-ek were candid and entertaining, so much that everyone was laughing very hard. (I personally think that both directors seem more approachable in person than watching their movies.)  The talk also mentioned the banning of the movie Insect in the Backyard, which is now in the appealing process in Thailand. This is the first Thai movie that is appealing the banning decision of the Ministry of Culture by taking the case to court. (If you want to help the director with the funding to fight for the case, check this facebook page.)  I also just learned from the talk today that the movie rating system was introduced to Thailand only back in 2008. Apichatpong shared anecdote of when he had to cut the scene where a monk was playing a guitar. Apparently the bottom line is that  if you have a pure violence without any association to religion (Buddhism, that is), the monarchy, and prominent professions (doctor, nurse, police, etc.) then you are not in trouble with the censorship committee.  One thing Pen-ek said that struck me as being so true in Thai movies was violence was okay, adultery was okay, but not penis.

Before this blog turns into a blog on Thai movie, if you want to practice Thai, you may want to check out The Last Life in the Universe .

Pen-ek at TAA event Sunday May 15, 2011

Apichatpong and Pen-ek at Asia Society event May 14, 2011

Apichatpong Weerasethakul at New Museum

New Museum

235 Bowery New York, NY 10002

Apichatpong Weerasethakul Residency Begins this Sunday with Artist Talk + Screenings

Exhibition to open to the public on May 19

“Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive” will be the first New York exhibition devoted to the work of the internationally acclaimed Thai artist and filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.Primitive (2009) – which is having its American debut at the New Museum – is his most ambitious project to date: a multi-platform work consisting of an installation of seven videos and related pieces. His most recent film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past Lives won the prestigious Palme d’or Prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. “Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive” will be on view at the New Museum from May 19 through July 3, 2011.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Weerasethakul will also be in residency at the New Museum, participating in a series of public screenings and conversations:

Around the World of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Sunday, May 15, 2-6 p.m.
FREE to Members, $10 General Public

In this four-hour program, Apichatpong Weerasethakul presents and discusses excerpts from all hisfeature films, up to and including his present project Primitive, providing audiences with behind-the-scenes access to his entire oeuvre.

The Short Films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Two Programs with Artist Talks
Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 22, 3 p.m.
FREE to Members, $8 General Public (each day)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul shares a selection of his original short films, followed by a discussion with the audience. The films are divided into two programs. The first (88 min) screens on May 19 and the second (111 min) screens on Sunday, May 22.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul presents Bruce Baillie’s Quick Billy (1967-70): Screening and Discussion, Part One
Thursday, May 26, 7 p.m.
FREE to Members, $8 General Public

Apichatpong Weerasethakul presents Bruce Baillie’s film Quick Billy (1967-70), followed by a discussion exploring Baillie’s influence on Weerasethakul’s work. Quick Billy is both a “karmic opera in four reels” and a visual translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Part two of this program continues on Friday, May 27, at 9 p.m. at Anthology Film Archives.

“Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive” is made possible by the generosity of the Leadership Council of the New Museum.

Additional generous support provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

These artist talks are made possible, in part, by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artists Talks Fund.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul will also appear at a public programs at the Asia Society: On May 14, he will be in conversation with Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Weerasethakul’s film Blissfully Yours (2002) will be screened on May 17, and his work will also be included in a film series taking place May 13-June 17.