Jul 29, 2010|
I grew up in Pattaya, where I just stayed in my room and read Agatha Christie and other detective novels, and a lot of Thai fiction.
My friends think I’m weird. Most are in banking jobs. Years ago, I would be writing at home, and my friends would call to ask what I was doing. I would say, “I’m working,” and they’d say, “What work?” They didn’t understand writing as work. They would be like, “That’s not work. You’re not paid for it.”
My family wanted me to help with their business. When I told my parents I wanted to do my MFA in film, my dad didn’t pay much attention. My mom just went quiet for a long time. And then my sister had a word with her, to try and help me.
I was desperate, to be somewhere else, doing something that was tempting me. I don’t know if I was in love with film then. I am now, but back then it was very mysterious.
I worried, too. I was depressed quite a lot. Occupational hazard, I guess.
Asian cinema has become synonymous with long, static shots. You just put a camera there and let the drama unfold. I’m a big fan of that, but I don’t want to keep repeating what has been done before. In Mundane History, the main character is paralyzed, which calls for long, static shots because he just lies in bed. I went deliberately the other way and used handheld cameras a lot.
The characters are mortal beings, confined in this house. They have this yearning to be elsewhere, not just out of the house, but also the country and the universe.
Uncle Boonmee winning the Palme d’Or is going to make things better for independent films. We were planning the release of my film for a while now, but without this win, it probably wouldn’t have happened so quickly.
I like films that are a little bit uneven and not perfect. If you watch Apichatpong’s films, there are elements that don’t fit together. He has so many stories going on at the same time and sometimes the transitions are not so smooth. I like that.
I don’t have to try to explain my film to someone. The film should have its own existence. If you feel it, then I have done my job, but if you don’t, then I guess I failed, and there’s no point in me explaining it.
There are too few women working in film in Thailand. Most of my favorite cinematographers are women, such as Agnes Godard and Caroline Champetier. If the French can do it, so can we.
think it’s sad [that people won’t go see Uncle Boonmee]. But art house audiences are never the masses, anywhere in the world. I think the size is actually growing.
I’m not always trying to make unconventional films. I make a film that I want to see. I used to watch a lot of films, but not Hollywood films. So when I make a film, it’s not going to be like Hollywood in terms of the storytelling.
I don’t worry about censorship. You have to just do what you want to do. You can’t self-censor yourself. If they want to censor the film, then deal with it later.
My parents are not so worried anymore about my career. Now they worry about my personal life. People ask me about marriage and kids, and I just say, “It’ll happen when it happens.”
I think about my parents’ health, because they’re getting older and I’m away a lot. When you’re younger, you don’t really think about that, and when you reach the age when you could become a parent yourself, you get very conscious about that.
I have three sisters, and I rarely see them these days. Everyone’s everywhere else. It’s sad sometimes. But that’s modern life.
I knew if I didn’t choose this path, I would look back on my life and regret it. When I decided to go to film school, I didn’t know anyone who was associated with film. I was thinking about it for a long time before I made the leap.
I used to be very lazy. I was one of the laziest people around before I started making films. I would just sleep all day, not doing anything. But film keeps me going.
There’s a feeling I get when I watch a good film. When I watched [Kiarostami’s] Certified Copy, I felt everything had been drained out of me, like I didn’t need to see another film for a whole year.
It’s that feeling that drives me.