Cactus River (Khong Lang Nam) (2012) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
I absolutely loved Joe’s last short film Ashes, which was released only this past May. Its mix of Chris Marker photokinetics and intensely personal and political undertones made it an extremely engaging work from the outset. His new short, commissioned and released through Walker Art Center, is a little more oblique, but just as engrossing for those who don’t mind a little experimental art school pedantry.
Entirely wordless, the ten minute passage depicts a few fleeting moments of the filmmaker’s visit to the home of long time collaborator Jenjira Pongpas (Uncle Boonmee, Syndromes and a Century). The house rests near the Mekong river, which Joe chooses to shoot in harshly contrasted black and white, while booming river winds captured in-camera create a cacophonous soundtrack that is at once both disorienting and elemental. Jenjira had recently changed her name to Nach, according to the director’s statement, which means simply ‘water’, and so the piece becomes a method of linking the two waters; the Mekong and Nach.