Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Durmiente & async, 2021-2017
Durmiente features an intimate scene depicting actress Tilda Swinton falling asleep over a period of roughly ten minutes. The light slowly fades, the camera position changing just once as the room becomes dark. We transition from a face-on shot to a view from behind, the room in darkness as the light fades through the window to the outside world. This is an outtake from the film Memoria, written and directed by Weerasethakul in 2021 that tells the story of a woman, having heard a loud 'bang' at daybreak, experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia. This particular scene never appeared in the original feature-length film but as a stand-alone sequence in Durmiente, it clearly signifies the end of the character’s journey. Drawing on the wider themes of Memoria, but taking a more intimate, microscopic view, Durmiente prolongs the liminal space in a way that conventional cinema perhaps finds it harder to justify; we are invited to linger at the moment and fully occupy the space between sleep and dreams, between reality and fiction, between experience and meaning. This literal transition from day to night and our suspension in this impossible duration could be read as a meta-commentary on the nature of cinematic space and time, too.
Async is a collaboration between Apichatpong Weerasethakul and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, and a homage to the act of crossing borders. Just as a film such as Durmiente uses the depiction of day to night as an allegory for a yearning for interconnectedness through light, cinema, and dreams, Async similarly makes use of temporal and spatial liminal zones to hold us in a particular space and time of contemplation. We are taken through cinema rooms, to a sunrise over a vast ocean as it breaks against the shore. An LED screen in the night sky precedes the morning sunlight at a rail crossing. These images, and sequences loop and intensify, building a narrative of images, movement and affective understandings. Sakamoto’s composition is rhythmic, concrete, and Avant guard. Before long, it breaks into lush sweeping pads as we see children, adults, workers, family and animals in various stages of sleep. A voiceover reads poetic and philosophical affirmations. These sleeping faces and bodies accompanied by piano melodies conflate dreams with cinema, and fiction with experience, which combined, visually contemplates ideas of connection in both physical and non-physical ways.
|Medium||Single-Channel Video HD 1440 × 1080, 4:3, Silent, Color (from 35mm). async - first light: Single-Channel Video HD 1440 x 1080, 4:3, 5.1 Dolby, Color (Shot with Digital Harinezumi). Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto with a poem by Arseny Tarkovsky, narrated by David Sylvain|
|Duration||11 minutes 3 seconds|
|Edition||of 5 + 2 APs|