[Revisiting A. W.] Here you can see that Apichat, like every genuine artist, has made the same work of art over and over again all these years. Almost all his other films are present here: the open windows of the hospital in Cemetery..., the ball that the boys plays football with [...Nabua], the thrilling p.o.v of car in a long-take ride [Blissfully...]... and the exact opposite of his late credits trick at the end!
A mysterious object it is, right between fiction and documentary, which i enjoyed above all. Joe has since 2000 almost systematically integrated elements of reality in his work, the hospital for instance is autobiographical and comes in Syndrome and a century, in Cemetary of Splendour etc. The cadavre-exquis is just a reason to travel through Thailand and meet all sorts of people, a McGuffin if you will.
On its face you could reduce Object to being an 'exquisite corpse' experiment. It is obvious that AW uses that technique to showcase his love for two things, people and cinema. Though the film had plenty of magic, two moments on the DVD's interview stunned me 1) That travel shots are glorious on film because it echoes stock running through the camera 2) That AW took cinema from being a deity to being his pet
In the final stages of the film, the sense of restlessness within the confines of this narrative that had at the beginning been the motor of the film becomes apparent. Bare life seems to demand to be let out from the story. The children extrapolate wildly; the film itself allows itself to be rattled by them. The story becomes the toy car in the final scene, which is attached to the dog who pulls it onwards blindly.
Wow - this film is audacious. Reminds me a lot of the other one I watched that day — "Close-up" — but through the lens of a whole society [Thailand], whereas Close-up looked through the microscope at one man. Both have their merits (don't wanna make a value judgment on them) but I love the happy coincidence that I watched them on the same day.
An audacious feature debut for Apichatpong. It's more fascinating in its concept than in its results, but it hypnotically establishes his trademarks: a dissolution of traditional cinematic narrative, a melding of the mundane with the impossible, and a democratic sense that, whoever the main character is, they are part of a universe that expands beyond the camera in all directions—even outside the material world.
Not strictly speaking an "experimental film." You would (strictly speaking) have no choice but to call it a "hybrid film." But doubt not, compadre: MYSTERIOUS OBJECT is the product of pure experiment. One imagines that Joe went out in search of something elusive and slightly immaterial. You discover as you go. This is essentially alchemy. Essentially essential alchemy, the film itself the titular object.
This is enigmatically produced with some equally enigmatic content. Stylistically inventive and original, it seems to be a microcosmic representation of folktales and a document of the feelings of these people through storytelling thematics. More layers exist, like Apichatpong's influence on both the fictional and documentary narratives or the included behind-the-scenes-esque shots of himself. Proper meta stuff.
I love the idea of the "Exquisite Corpse" too. This film doesn't always hits the target it aims at (too many unnecessary longueurs) Fascinating concept nevertheless and at times I was transfixed as it worked a special kind of magic on me. Would love now to see his other films.