€ 16 / € 13
Thai > EN
Ticket includes free admission to exhibition Memorandum
As part of the focus programme devoted to Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the festival is presenting the European premiere of his very first theatre production. In Fever Room , the director takes us back to the origins of the cinematographic and theatrical imagination: the cave, an intoxicating space wherein reality and fiction encounter one another. Weerasethakul makes the dream three-dimensional. He plays with hypnotic lighting and sound effects, multiplies screens and frames, and projects filmic illusions onto a curtain of fog. He places the spectators in the centre of the image and infects them with a feverish virus, until they lose their way. The universe is poised to collapse and we are stuck in a mesmerising dream world on the brink of the subconscious. Fever Room is a journey in search of the light.
Director & Editor
Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi
Production manager assistant
Sound designer & music composer
Siripun Sangjun Senior
Kick the Machine Films, Thailand & Asian Arts Theatre, South Korea
The caress of a soft female voice delivers us into an old-fashioned hospital room in the tropics, a well-worn white cube defined only by its out-looking windows. Like the delicate lapping of waves, soft countryside sounds and her gentle narration start us on a journey into an intricate weave of time and fantasy. With Weerasethakul’s characteristic somnambulic rhythm, wandering through her favourite places and flashes of her town, we are guided through fragments of the speaker’s memory, returning only to the hospital as a home. Home, Fever Room, where the mind drifts between the window-framed sky and thoughts of being under the ground. Suspended between quiet walls, its residents are protected from both the romance and the violence of the outside world, and life and death take time to speak to one another.
Following fragmented journeys we travel across lands and waters, witnessing flickers of relationship and conversation, looks and voices. Amongst these prolonged moments of emotion and landscape is a poignant reminder of the social context – a statue of Sarit Thanarat, one of the most repressive despots to rule Thailand under martial law – appearing next to a figure of Quan Yin. In this brief but powerful reference to Thailand’s military regime we observe the filmmaker’s consistent dedication to illuminating his nation’s predicament and anguish. The only shelter from such unsettling concern is the White Room to which we return – this waiting-room between Sky and Earth, where the heart can open to times past and future, with no need to engage in the race of the present. Are we seeing through the eyes of a young Weerasethakul, looking out at the world from his parents’ hospital workplace, contemplating the matters of the greater world?
The film trails off into darkness, and we are left hanging, suspended in a pregnant silence. As time slowly allows our eyes to adjust, we find ourselves in an obscure landscape – a newly-opened space beyond the screen, merging the cinematic world with a deep expanse of fog and rain. The seamless transition into this unnamed dream world feels like some sort of supernatural transportation. As we are gradually enveloped by a mesmerising journey of light and sound, in a world between sleep and waking, we are suspended in a space between consciousnesses where only other people’s shadows flicker in the distant mist. The light show takes us on a dramatic cruise, and one feels as though one has discovered the sensation of flying, both in the abstract mist and deep within our own selves. We embark on a fantasmal journey through a kind of fog vacuum inhaling us deeper and deeper into a childlike state and a metaphysical realm. As we soar lone and free through layers of cloud and deep sea, we sink into a richly internal space, dissolving the skins that separate.
And so we return, to find ourselves sitting on the floor of the theatre – in fact, sitting on the floor of the theatre stage – conversing with the damp smell of rain and the churning fog, hypnotised by this world of sound and light. One is left brimming with a peculiar sense of empowered aloneness, a knowledge of deep connection and utter smallness. Expanding the vocabularies both of cinema and theatre, with a calm freedom Weerasethakul literally breaks open cinema and its perceived limitations and allows the spectator to journey his own imagination, nourished by the filmmaker’s fine-tuned creation. With characteristic grace he returns us to a primitive sensibility. As we enjoy the pleasure of slowness within our times of shallow immediacy, the sanctuary of the theatre provides a rehabilitation of the senses. One is left with a profound sense of relief as the voyage brings us to a deeper dimension in which we can exist. A work that defies definition or category, Fever Room places its emphasis on fragrances and nuances that seep into our cells, touching on our natural understanding and yearning for non-linear expression, as the dimensions of time and space stretch, bend and fragment in irregular, organic shapes. Immersed in the echoes of murmured tales and the dancing shadows of Plato’s cavemen, we are gently reminded of the crevices between the realities in which we exist. An experimental masterpiece and a testament to the grace and sapience of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Angela Reynolds (SCAI the Bathhouse)
ACC Theater Opening Festival 2015
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. 1970) was born in Bangkok and grew up in Khon Kaen in north-eastern Thailand. He began making film and video shorts in 1994, and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, with a strong sense of dislocation, his works deal with memory, subtly addressed personal politics and social issues. His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes, including two prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. In 2005 he was presented with one of Thailand’s most prestigious awards, Silpatorn, by the Thai Ministry of Culture. In 2008, the French Minister of Culture bestowed on him the medal of Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature). In 2011, he was given another honor for the same field with an Officer Medal. His film Syndromes and a Century, completed in late 2006, was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival. Apichatpong Weerasethakul is also one of 20 international artists and filmmakers commissioned to create a short film for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 2009, the Austrian Film Museum published a major English language monograph on his work. His 2009 project, Primitive, consists of a large-scale video installation, an artist’s book, and a feature film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives . The film has won a Palme d’Or prize at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010, making it the first Southeast Asian film (and the 7th from Asia) to win the most prestigious award in the film world. In 2012, he is invited to participate in documenta (13), one of the most well-known art exhibitions in Kassel, Germany. Apichatpong Weerasethakul also received the Sharjah Biennial Prize at the 2013 Sharjah Biennial 11, UAE. He’s also a recipient of the Fukuoka Prize, Japan, 2013. In late 2014, he received the Yanghyun Art Prize, one of the most prestigious prizes in Korea. In 2016, a retrospective of his films was presented at Tate Britain, UK. Apichatpong Weerasethakul currently works and lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts
2005: Worldly Desires