When you do video installation work, do you approach that work differently than when you work with film?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The similarity is... the main idea, the main concept. They're the same, but practically, video works give me more freedom. They're very expressive and somehow now it turns out that my video works are sketches for my feature films. It's more abstract and I can experiment with the medium, the video, and it doesn't need a lot of people. It's just me and the camera, so it's very intimate. It's a way to explore and sketch certain moods, certain emotions for film. It coexists quite well in that way.
Would you say any of the earlier shorts were a direct starting point for your first feature or were they different enough that your first feature was something completely different? When you look at the Like the Rentless Fury of the Pounding Waves, you're exploring ideas of time and space that seem to evolve in Mysterious Object at Noon, but they're obviously very different also.
Yeah, but for me they are the same in the way that I try to get a feeling with the camera and explore how I can capture the ordinary events in life, and Relentless is something like that with very little planning. I get the feeling of the environment spontaneously, so it's a very similar working method as Mysterious Object at Noon. It continues until now, this way of working.
It seems that the construction of your work challenges - particularly here in the United States - our notions of what is or isn't documentary, in much the same way that Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell challenged what could be accepted as art. In a way, you're creating this kind of Thai new wave that's similar to what was happening throughout the world in the 60s. Are you seeing an inspiration or influence of your work starting to spread through Thailand and other peoples' work?
I do, actually. You mean my influence, yes?
Because there really wasn't independent film in Thailand until your first film came out. Are you seeing other people now feeling like it's possible that their films can be seen and then going out and making their own work as a result?
Yes, now it's very common for everyone to make films. Yeah, and video for the young people. Before it was quite limited in terms of equipment and now so many kids are making video. Before, five or six years ago, there was a lot of work dealing directly with social issues quite outside of the personal style. Now we see a lot more people who are just talking about themselves, which I think is a better way because it reflects the society they're living in. In a personal way, that's more interesting, so you see more of this work, and the studios in Thailand are tapping into this area as well in hiring fresh graduates to direct a video and then go to film or direct a film cheaply. I think that the mood of making my kind of films is getting stronger here.
Well, it doesn't hurt that your films are so well-received as well. They have been very well-accepted and very well-appreciated throughout the world. Your association with cinemafactory ended around the time that you either started or finished Mysterious Object at Noon. Is that about right?
At what point in the conception of your first feature film did you introduce the notion of the exquisite corpse as a storytelling technique? Was it really early in the process?
It's actually the main concept with which we started the film. It's the whole film.
How carefully planned was the journey in advance of taking up the project? Or was it still pretty carefree as you traveled around?
We only knew that we would travel from the north to the south, but along the way, of course, we had to plan when we drove around the country, around the city. In the north we just looked at the landscape and, for example, saw farmers, so we planned: Ok, let's do that as the subject.
Were there any unexpected challenges when you were working on this film? Were there any surprises when you were working on it?
Yes, the way people tell stories because we were just open. For example, the kids are very open and very imaginative. I just realized later that it's influenced by the way they live. They're school kids, very influenced by comics, television. They just want to have fun and collect images. We didn't consciously think about social issues and about making this documentary fiction. The relationship between people and the social just occurred to us later. Then we could make the story interesting.
Bookmark/Search this post with: