Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

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Three screenings this week showcase the work of Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Tropical Malady, Blissfully Yours), who studied at the School of the Art Institute and now ranks as one of the most creative and unpredictable film artists working anywhere. With a few notable exceptions, all Weerasethakul's work is experimental, though the seven lovely shorts (1994-2003) screening at Chicago Filmmakers are experimental in the classic sense of being painterly, musical, and nonnarrative. The stories that do surface come from such sources as a comic book (Malee and the Boy), a radio play (Like the Relentless Fury of the Pounding Waves), and an offscreen conversation (Thirdworld). In more recent works screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center, the presence of nature begins to overwhelm the more formal elements; one of them, Worldly Desires (2005), was inspired by "memories of the jungle, 2001-2005" and wittily juxtaposes the shooting of a soap opera and a music video there. Weerasethakul's latest feature, Syndromes and a Century, also screens as part of the Chicago International Film Festival (see Section 1 pullout). a Wed 10/11, 7:30 PM, Chicago Filmmakers; also Thu 10/12, 6 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center.

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