MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON
With his debut feature, MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON, acclaimed Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul expertly blended cinematic fact and fiction in a manner that fifteen years later continues to defy both easy categorization and comparison. A low-fi "genre bender," independently produced on a shoestring budget and subsequently endangered by neglect, MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON, has now been painstakingly restored by the Austrian Film Museum and the Film Foundation from the best surviving elements.
“Shot in fits and starts on a minuscule budget, MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON was modeled on the Exquisite Corpse add-an-element structure famous from French surrealism, in which drawings or texts are passed from person to person to elaborate upon, with the original materials hidden so that each addition does not adhere in any “logical” or predetermined way, resulting in a collective, randomly assembled piece (Hail Duchamp).
The title of Apichatpong’s debut feature was its first gift to critics; his films have been called “mysterious objects” countless times since, in a manner less glib than proleptic. Invoking a work’s enigma at the outset anticipates impenetrability, thereby excusing any critical inability to analyze or describe. That tactic proves most tempting with this compact but omnifarious “whatzit?”, with its source in Thai popular culture and American documentary and experimental cinema, its perplexing, and exhilarating conflation of genre (fairy tale, road movie, documentary, horror, science fiction, folk anthropology, musical) and tone (by turn sad, surreal, exuberant, teasing, harsh). Its style manages to be both ramshackle and concatenated: the film’s structure is linear and convoluted at the same time, its title a telling convergence of the unknowable (mysterious object) and the temporally exact (noon). If the precision of the latter turns out to be misleading – time in the film is largely unfixed, in flux, employing historical anachronism and refusing to mark either diurnal specifics or the three-year span it took to make the film – Object’s modus, as is often the case in Apichatpong’s subsequent work, depends on surprise and unreliability, a knowing errancy not only of narrative progression and coherency but also of such formal constituents as sound source and signature, succession of shots, and identification of setting and performer.”
– James Quant, "Mysterious Object at Noon"
This DVD release also includes three of the filmmaker's short works, selected by the director himself: THIRDWORLD (1997), WORLDLY DESIRES (2005) and MONSOON (2011), plus the Austrian Film Museum's now out-of-print 255 page monograph from 2009 on Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his films as an exclusive DVD-ROM feature.
Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)
MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON
Director, editor, writer: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cinematography: Prasong Klinborrom, Sayompoo Mukdeeprom & Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Duangjai Hiransri, Jaruwan Techasatiern, Somsri Pinyopol, Jarunee Jandang, Deaw Ayuddhaya, Jack Ayuddhaya, Chakree Duangklao, Thanit Niyomprasit, Nattaporn Rachapakdee & Kongkeirt Komsiri
• 85 minutes
• 35mm (from 16mm)
(Thailand & USA, 1997)
Director, writer, cinematographer, editor: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Chumnan Boonyaputhipong, Paisit Phanpruksachat, ApichatpongWeera sethakul, Nappaporn Kongkirati
• 17 minutes
• SD Video (from 16mm)
(Thailand & South Korea, 2005)
Director, writer: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cinematography: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Sivaroj Kongsagul & Chatchai Suriyakul Na Ayutha
Editor: Apichatpong Weerasethakul & Sompot Chidgasornpongse
Cast: Chanchai Amonthat, Thanatporn Vejchayom, Priya Wongrabeab, Sirapa Theansuwan, Siriporn Chernjit, Atjimarak Songsangjan & Utchalaluk Songsangjan
• 43 minutes
• SD Video
Director, writer, editor: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Music: Peerapong Chalermyothin
Cast: Peerapong Chalermyothin & Chaisiri Jiwarangsan
• 3 minutes
• HD Video
• DVD–ROM Feature: 256 page booklet
Total Running Time: 02:28:00
Language: Thai. German & English subtitles.
Booklet Text: Alexander Horwath (German & English) & James Quandt (German)
Published By: Edition Filmmuseum
Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)
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