Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Nickname: Joe.
Just from the name you can realize the melting pot of visionary characteristics and ability to synthesize of this Thai director and producer who hypnotized Cannes with his Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). As president of the jury, this year he brings his original and surprising gaze to Locarno.
With his light touch and sensitivity he will watch the entries in the Concorso internazionale trying – as always – to find the other and the beyond also in films which could be distant from him. His career, in fact, testifies that he has never met any narrative and visual schemes, showing curiousity for the different modes of expression, eclecticism and the will not to choose or walk the easiest way.
Think of his debut, Mysterious Object at Noon (2000), a striking black-and-white 16mm film which proposed (and imposed) itself as major turning point in modern cinema, for both the filmmaker and the audience whom Apichatpong never favours. Instead, he loves to provoke it, bringing it to foreign lands.
In Blissfully Yours (2002) he faces a still bigger challenge: to mix videoart, experimental cinema and his poetics. He wins the challenge and receives the first prize at the Certain Regard competition in Cannes in 2002, which certifies his success. On these premises, he shoots Tropical Malady (2004) in which the metaphoric and hyperrealistic jungle shows all its complex beauty and Syndromes and a Century (2006) with its always more fantastic experimentation, not to mention Uncle Boonmee which has conquered everybody
A coherent and powerful journey in which whoever watches is as important as the storyteller.
A cinema made of unexpecting intuitions and extreme synthesis.
That is why his cinema can and must be told in a very few words. Images talk for him. Always.
Mr Apichatpong Weerasethakul, your films were screening at the most important festivals around the world. What did you know about the Festival del film Locarno?
I heard about the outdoor cinema of course. I kept imagining it. So this is a good chance to see it real.
What were your expectations of this new edition of the Festival?
To be honest, I had no expectation. It is more exciting when a surprise pops up.
What sort of film will be your personal Pardo d’oro favourite?
I like a film that divides people, a film that delivers a peculiar uneasiness.
The Festival aims to search for the future of films in the cinema of the present?
Finallly, what is the meaning of being a president of a jury?
To not let the other jury members throw themselves out of the window if their favourite films don’t win anything.