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A Guy Named Joe: The Beguiling Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul


Sundays in January at 7:00 PM

A Guy Named Joe: The Beguiling Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul

If the current vogue of East Asian cinema has left you feeling as if there are more New Waves than there are actual directors, prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised by the fantastic new auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul -- though his friends just call him "Joe." Trained at Chicago's School of the Art Institute, Joe honed his idiosyncratic aesthetic from Thai and Japanese folklore, Surrealist and Dada wordgames and American B-movies. Returning to his native Thailand and working outside its mainstream of crime comedies and action-horror, Joe has gone on to produce some of the most compelling and inventive filmmaking anywhere in the world. Traditionally, filmgoers are not practiced at intuitively sensing meaning. Joe gives the audience this deeply unconscious experience while also expressing universal human emotions through humble, uncluttered stories. Indeed, his films are alive in a way that few have ever been, not to mention stunningly beautiful and exotic in all the right ways. Blissfully, he is ours.

January 6th - 5:00 PM

The Short Films of Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Not only has Weerasethakul made numerous, ecstatically gorgeous features, but he has produced over half a dozen shorts that have toured the world’s film festivals to great acclaim. Joe maintains that the bulk of his "craft" exists in the form of these video shorts and installations, seeing them as the best avenue to evoke a single mood. The Cinefamily is proud to present the first major Los Angeles retrospective of these key works in the oeuvre of a major new auteur. This program will include:

Malee And The Boy, in which a 10-year-old controls the use of the microphone, as he gathers sounds in various Bangkok street locations. In The Anthem, Joe lampoons ritual-as-propaganda by creating "the Cinema Anthem that praises and blesses the approaching feature for each screening, "
Thirdworld, in which he blasts the West's "exotic" view of Thailand by portraying a peaceful island through intentionally unprofessional videography.
0116643225059 uses an overseas phone call to join the disparate worlds of Joe's Chicago schooling and Khon Kaen family home through eerily silhouetted childhood pictures of his mother. My Mother's Garden is a silent, venomous juxtaposition of an ornate jewelry collection with carnivorous plants.
Also showing: Windows, Relentless Fury Of The Pounding Waves, Worldly Desires, Ghost Of Asia.
Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 1997-2007, 35mm and Beta, ca. 180 min.
Tickets - $10

January 13th - 7:00

Syndromes and a Century

A provocative and experimental feature based on memories of his parents (both doctors) Syndromes and a Century is brimming with understated ironies. In keeping with Joe's favorite structural motif--the yin and yang--the film's bisected structure is set in the 1970s, and also some thirty years ahead in the present day, with many overlapping events. The first half centers around a female doctor in a rural Thai clinic, an idyllic setting in which the hospital is as simple and placid as a lakeside cabin; while the second half transports us to a modern medical behemoth that, compared to the first, might as well be a setpiece from 2001, but still Weerasethakul's humanism remains. It is an ecstatic play on difference and repetition, but rather than suffering from redundancy, the repeated actions bring to light just how much the nature of our environment shapes our lives. Robert Keser of Bright Lights Film Journal sez: "this refined and original film seems to catch life just at the brink of fulfillment...just life lived as purely as a song."V Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006, 35mm, 105 min.
Tickets - $10

January 20th @ 7:00 PM

Tropical Malady

Rare is the film that maintains a credible mystical haze while simultaneously giving the audience a down-to-earth portrayal of such an awkward human emotion as unrequited longing. Not only does Malady criss-cross these two alternate motives without confusion, but it also manages to be a left-field crowd-pleaser. The simple setup of villager Tong crossing paths with urban-bred army soldier Keng gently explodes across lines of class and sexual identity. The two young men are drawn together through unacknowledged courtship via solid kitchen-sink realism, then later find themselves literally as “the hunter and the hunted” in a startling metaphysical one-eighty turn at the film’s halfway point. Subtitled “A Spirit’s Path”, this second half is Keng’s intensely realized journey through a jungle (both literal and symbolic) of unexplored emotion. Winner of the 2004 Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize, Malady taunts, teases and ultimately releases our imaginations free into the wild.
Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004, 35mm, 118 min.
Tickets - $10

1/27 @ 7pm / SERIES: a guy named joe Blissfully Yours Loosely predicated on a lust triangle between two Thai women and a Burmese immigrant with a mysterious skin disease, Blissfully Yours is largely composed of these fleeting, yet profound, moments of self-awareness in a purgatory where the characters are as isolated from one another as they are from their own sexuality. Always a tirelessly inventive auteur, Apichatpong withholds the opening title of the film for almost forty minutes (causing minor uproar at Cannes), but this offbeat and expert displacement actually rejuvenates the viewer and allows them to see the rural second half’s swathe of time-images and long takes with greater interest and attention to detail. All the subtleties settle upon the viewer with the languor and seduction of a Thai afternoon, and will continue to haunt you like a fever dream for long afterwards. Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2002, 35mm, 125 min. Tickets - $10