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they call him ‘joe’

they call him 'joe'

While Peter was up the street at Lincoln Center to file a first day dispatch on the New York Film Festival’s opening night film, “The Social Network,” this morning I was over at the Hudson Hotel for a chat with Apichatpong Weerasethakul. It’s a rare trip to New York City for the forty year old Thai filmmaker that many people conveniently refer to as “Joe” (because his name is too tough for some to pronounce).

While he studied in Chicago for four years before returning to Thailand, Apichatpong Weerasethakul said that he’s only spent a few days in New York before this extended trip. And, while he’s had many films at the New York Film Festival, this is the first time he’ll be in attendance. We chatted about ‘personal cinema’ for an article I’ll write for indieWIRE and then he asked me what to expect at tonight’s NYFF opening night.

“A red carpet with photographers?” he wondered.

I responded, “There will be people who will want to take your photo.”

“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” screens tomorrow at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 9 p.m. at the festival. But, don’t be surprised if Apichatpong Weerasethakul doesn’t appear on stage before the movie. He said that he’s hoping the festival will be OK with him skipping the introduction and instead only doing a Q & A after folks have watched the film.

“It’s very delicate,” he said of his movie, which he calls an “experimental narrative” that he says comes from a personal place. Apichatpong Weerasethakul has found that when he frames the film for an audience ahead of a showing it can create a disconnect for viewers. That’s what happened after Cannes when he screening the film in France and began the showing with an explanatory intro.

“I feel like I destroy the movie by answering with my references and my logic,” he said this morning.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul with Strand Releasing’s Marcus Hu today in New York City.
iphone photo by eugene hernandez

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