From the Nightmarish to a Dreamy State of Being: The Troubling Present in Thai Independent Cinema after the Coups D’État 2014


From ApichatpongWeerasethakul’s debut film, Mysterious Objects at Noon, to Blissfully Yours and on to Tropical Malady, the subjects, forms, and modes of visual presentation reflect the evolution of a unique style of filmmaking that deals intimately with themes such as desire and sexual ambiguity which are rarely explored in mainstream cinema. Weerasethakul paved the way for a second group of Thai independent filmmakers that followed in the 2000s, in particular during the period of political protests which led to the coups d’état of 2006 and 2014, when the independent cinema flourished both domestically and internationally. Their films have created a discourse on independent films, or nang indie, that offers an alternative mode of filmmaking as well as an alternative discourse from the mainstream cinema. For this paper, I would like to take a closer look at some of independent films made after the 2014 coups d’état, in the period where military regime has attempted to impose its ideological values through films and other mediums.

I will look through three particular films, The Blue Hour (Anucha Boonyawatana, 2015), Snap (Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, 2015) and Cemetery of Splendor (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015), and how they offer a vision from the nightmarish to a dreamy state of being that perhaps give us a glimpse into the undercurrents embedded in the mentality of Thai independent filmmakers at the present time.

Author Information
Sopawan Boonnimitra, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: FilmAsia2016
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

This paper is part of the FilmAsia2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon