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Apichatpong Weerasethakul Planning Next Film in Colombia

Written by on March 13, 2017 

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After exploring sleep-induced hallucinations in one of last year’s best films, Cemetery of Splendor, director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is planning his next film and it will mark a distinct shift in location for the Palme d’Or winner. Although his previous features have been set in his homeland of Thailand, he’s heading to South America to shoot the latest.

No plot details have been revealed yet, but THR reports, from a talk with the director at the Cartagena Film Festival, that he has been “frustrated by censorship and a suppressive political climate in his native Thailand, which remains under military rule.” As a result, he recently kicked off a two-month trip throughout Colombia — specifically Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Chocó — as he researches this next project.

“I’ve been really obsessed with Latin America for quite a while,” he says. “I’ve been wanting to know about all the violence that happened here, and the history of colonization — in a way, to reflect on my country. At the same time, I imagine it’s impossible to make a film that’s authentically local. So I don’t believe I can present that — it will be about these foreign eyes, looking.”

As for the current political climate of Thailand, he says, “There is this issue about not being able to present reality, because we are still under the control of the government, which views film as propaganda. Sometimes you do something and they just charge you. For example, two theater performers were in prison for two years, because they did something the government deemed an insult to the monarchy — it’s all about interpretation. It’s really like 1984.”

With a new freedom outside the borders of Thailand, we look forward to what he gleans from his current research trip. As we await more details on the project, watch a recently uploaded one-hour masterclass with the director from 2009.


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