For his first feature, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES) orchestrated this beguiling, sui generis hybrid: part road movie, part folk storytelling exercise, part surrealist party game. A camera crew travels the length of Thailand asking villagers to invent episodes in an ever-expanding story, which ends up incorporating witches, tigers, surprise doublings and impossible reversals. With each participant, MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON (Thailand, 2000) seems to take on a new unresolved tension. Celebrating equally the possibilities of storytelling and of documentary, it’s a work that’s grounded in a very specific region, but feels like it came from another planet. Restored by the Austrian Film Museum with help from the World Cinema Foundation.
“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).”
– James Quant, "Mysterious Object at Noon"
Art works by Apichatpong Weerasethakul are also on exhibit at La Biennale di Venezia through October 5th. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s works are steeped in the social life, divergent culture, and tumultuous politics of his native Thailand, whilst the transient arenas of sleeping, dreaming, and memory recur as spaces for exploration, liberation and quiet subversion.