Blissfully Yours (2002)

12 01 2008

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film, Syndromes and a Century is coming out on DVD this Tuesday and it already has a very large following. Four years prior, he made Blissfully Yours which basically lays out a lot of the territory he would work with in his future films, the lone exception being The Adventures of Iron Pussy. Calling him a hybrid between Tsai Ming-liang and Werner Herzog may be a bit too short-sighted but I’m saying it as a compliment. All of Joe’s (Weerasethakul’s nickname) films that I’ve managed to seen bring out the best in the nature driven visual poetry of Herzog’s work as well as the deadpan humor and style of Tsai’s films. At one point, I felt that this was almost like Vive L’Amour just with a different setting. Still this is Joe’s film and while I don’t put him on the same level as Tsai, I do like him quite a bit.

The film is very easy to follow but obviously, not recommended to those who haven’t familiarized themselves with some of the other minimalistic work out of east Asia. Min is an illegal immigrant who is visiting the doctor to have a rash of his examined. His girlfriend, Roong is also there, as well as a friend, Orn. The film opens with a few very funny trade-offs in the doctor’s office, which definitely anticipates a lot of the humor found in Syndromes and a Century. The first fifteen minutes have more dialogue than the rest of the film which is a bit awkward. Also awkward is the fact that the opening credits don’t show up until one hour in. The only other that I can think of that also does this is Last Life is the Universe.

After the opening credits end, the second half of the film is set up: Roong and Min begin to drift along beautiful landscapes (a la the first half of L’Avventura) and end up deep in the forest which is where the film ends. Pretty simple for two and a hours so it’s easy to see why a lot of people got bored by this but if you enjoy this sensory driven type of cinematography then you’ll basically be in heaven. Unfortunately, the film never really goes anywhere and it seems almost self-consciously against having any closure. This is a great film, though. The screen shots do more justice for the film than my own words.

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2 responses

12 01 2008
Eli

Strangely enough, that’s the Joe film that interests me the least. Tropical Malady and Mysterious Object at Noon looks much more awesome.

13 01 2008
DG

Dang I wanna see that.

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