Filed in Arts & Culture

Memories of Thailand

With a faith in the power of storytelling and an eye for unexpected imagery, filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has challenged the boundaries of cinema in his native Thailand.

David A. Taylor

Wisdom Collection

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© Kick the Machine FilmsISAN, OR NORTHEASTERN THAILAND, is a region known among Thais mainly for its poverty and grim heat—in contrast with the idyllic beaches of the south or the temperate hill forests of the north. Bangkok DJs and soap operas often mock Northeasterners as bumpkins, and northeastern Thai music corresponds roughly to American country music—rustic, easily derided, but infectious. Geographically and culturally isolated, Northeastern Thai life feels far removed from the world of art films celebrated in Berlin and Cannes. So in June 2004 everyone was surprised when a young director from Isan named Apichatpong Weerasethakul took the Cannes festival's Jury Prize for his film Tropical Malady.

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