26 June 2013

On the night of Japan’s devastating earthquake in March 2011, alone and far from home a man skypes his lover on the other side of the world. With no dialogue, the man discovers a firefly and shows it to his partner.

This short film, sweetly lingering in its sentiment, captures a wordless gesture of human expression and hints at themes of longing and separation.

Exploring themes of memory, imagination and re-incarnation, Apichatpong’s work is often dreamlike. In Primitive, his first UK solo exhibition (a co-commission with FACT), he presented a multi-platform work, comprising a multi-screen video installation, two short films, an artist's book and a music video. This project centred around Nabua, a small village in the Renu Nakhon district of Thailand with a history of conflict between military and Communist groups. Inviting the young people of the district to re-imagine their dreams and memories through building a spaceship in the rice fields of Nabua, Apichatpong weaved images of the imagination with reality and history.

Apichatpong’s Palme d’Or winning film Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives (2010), came after a short called A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, part of the Primitive exhibition. The feature film, again lyrical and dreamlike in style, follows the character of Uncle Boonmee who, suffering from life-threatening kidney disease, spends his last days in the countryside. Here, Boonmee recalls his past lives while he is visited by his relatives - who exist on various planes of reality. It is Apichatpong’s sixth feature and the success Cannes has catapulted him into the public eye and cemented his auteur status. 

Apichatpong talks about his ideas and personal connection to his work on Uncle Boonmee who can Recall his Past Lives in an interview with AP Engine and the Guardian calls the film ‘a dreamlike expedition into another culture’ 

Monsoon is showing tonight at 12:35 on Channel 4 and it will then be available on the Random Acts website and Artplayer.tv.