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Thai director wins award from Cannes

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Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s return to the croisette made another history as he wins Jury Prize from his ninth feature film ‘Memoria’.

Despite some questions from the industry that the event can actually happen, Cannes Film Festival 2021 takes place successfully as the celebration of the revival of global film industry after the pandemic has destroyed much of it.

In the evening night of July 17, the jury members which veteran American filmmaker Spike Lee is the head has given Palme d’Or to ‘Titane’, second feature film of female director Julia Ducournau, whose 2016 film ‘Raw’ premiered in the International Critics' Week. ‘Titane’ is the first time Ducournau has film in main competition in Cannes, which turns Julia into the second female filmmaker after Jane Campion to win the prestigious Palme d’Or. Renowned Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won Grand Prix from ‘A Hero’, which he shares the award with Finnish director Juho Kousmanen’s ‘Compartment No. 6’. French auteur Leos Carax wins Best Director from Cannes for the first time from his latest film ‘Annette’.

Credit - Festival de Cannes'

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has made another history when his latest film ‘Memoria’ won Jury Prize, which he shares the prize with Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid who win the prize for his latest film ‘Ahed’s Knee’.  After his winning of the Palme d’Or in 2010 from ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’, Apichatpong wins award from Cannes again in 2021 from his ninth feature film, which back in 2004, ‘Tropical Malady’ won Jury Prize from Cannes. 

 'Memoria' by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

“Thank you the juries members and Festival de Cannes very much much for this recognition. Thank you so much to my dearest producer for your belief and your support for over the years, especially Simon Field and Diana Bustamante. You are the world to me. Dear our team in Colombia, Mexico, and Thailand, I wish we were here together.”, says Apichatpong in his acceptance speech.  

“Tilda, I remember we talked about this many times and here we are. You are one of the most incredible humans I encountered. Thank you so much for igniting this fireworks.”, Apichatpong mentioned about Tilda Swinton, who was the jury in Cannes Film Festival 2004 that gave the Jury Prize to Apichatpong’s ‘Tropical Malady’, and Apichatpong has been talking with her for many years about working together. 

A co-production between Colombia, Thailand, United Kingdom, Mexico and France, ‘Memoria’ is the first time that Apichatpong directs a feature film in another country. The film which is the long-awaited collaboration between Apichatpong and Tilda Swinton was shot entirely in Colombia in Spanish and English. Tilda Swinton plays character of Jessica, a woman who is unable to sleep because she keeps hearing a strange bang noise inside her head. Jessica goes to Bogota to visit her sister and gets to know with Agnes (Jeanne Balibar), an archeologist. While trying to find out what is the mysterious sound she always hears, Jessica goes to the dreamlike countryside of Colombia and meets with Hernan (Elkin Diaz), the fish scaler who she shares memory with by the river. 

“I am lucky to be standing here, while many of my countrymen cannot travel. Many of them suffer greatly from the pandemic, with the mismanagement of resources, healthcare, and vaccine accessibility.  I want to call out for the Thai and Colombian governments, and the governments of countries in a similar situation, to please wake up, and work for your people, now.”, The pandemic has caused sufferings to so many people in many countries including the two main production countries of Memoria, which Apichatpong calls out to the government of Thailand and Colombia to work for their people. 

'Memoria' by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

After the winning in Cannes, Apichatpong will continue his journey to FID Marseille, where he will receive the Grand prix d'honneur. ‘Memoria’ will start its journey in film festivals around the world, and will be released in Thailand by the end of this year. 

Published : July 17, 2021

By : Special to Nationthailand by Donsaron Kovitvanitcha