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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friendly Thai ghosts

Thai ghosts are integer part of the dailylife folklore, they are not evil serial killers like in Hollywood movies... Witnesses of "paranormal activities" do not run away screaming in Thailand. A ghost is accepted as a genius loci, a facecious spirit attached to its territory in the common environment.


Sylvania (2008/Thanonchai Sornsriwichai/Thailand) 45" commercial for Sylvania (lightbulb)

Uncle boonmee, who can recall his past lives (2010/Weerasethakul/Thailand) excerpt

Ghosts are not there to trigger a jump scene, a scare suspense, an ominous threat, no shock nor awe. This contact with the undead, with the afterlife souls is more like a sudden encounter with a long lost neighbour. The attitude is more nonchalent, passive, fatalistic than in the image-action entertainment. The relation with the metaphysical is treated in a more natural and evident way, however scary looking or otherworldly these creatures may be.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cannes 2010) : "For Thai people, old and young, especially in the North-East, we've been raised off the influence of the Khmer, you know the Cambodian belief of animism, that is about the transmigration of souls. The animals, plants, spirits, humans swaping places. Since I was young it was always like that. Even though now with contemporary time, the landscape changed, technology comes in... But, deep down in you, you can ask any Thai people, they believe in ghosts. And for me, maybe there is a ghost amongst us here. I would like to express in my movie this childhood belief of mine, through all the movies that had ghosts, comic books, that is part of the landscape that is no longer available in contemporary Thai cinema. It is disappearing. Even though we still believe in it now, we don't make films that deal seriously, in a personal way, it's usually more like a comedy. [..] I wanted to bring together this relationship between this childhood belief, death and birth, the fantasy of phantoms, they are kind of correlated in this movie. [..]"

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1 comment:

HarryTuttle said...

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cannes 2010) : "For Thai people, old and young, especially in the North-East, we've been raised off the influence of the Khmer, you know the Cambodian belief of animism, that is about the transmigration of souls. The animals, plants, spirits, humans swaping places. Since I was young it was always like that. Even though now with contemporary time, the landscape changed, technology comes in... But, deep down in you, you can ask any Thai people, they believe in ghosts. And for me, maybe there is a ghost amongst us here. I would like to express in my movie this childhood belief of mine, through all the movies that had ghosts, comic books, that is part of the landscape that is no longer available in contemporary Thai cinema. It is disappearing. Even though we still believe in it now, we don't make films that deal seriously, in a personal way, it's usually more like a comedy. [..] I wanted to bring together this relationship between this childhood belief, death and birth, the fantasy of phantoms, they are kind of correlated in this movie. [..]"