Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul has revealed plans to shoot a film in Sri Lanka, inspired by the work of science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke.
Speaking to New York’s Metrograph theatre, Apichatpong said he may be partnering with a streamer on the project. He plans to start location scouting in Sri Lanka next month and said he hopes the project will be “more flexible” than his last film.
“It’ll be a smaller budget, and probably with [my long-time actors] Jenjira [Pongpas] and Sakda [Kaewbuadee],” he told Metrograph’s film journal. “It’s the same old gang.”
Apichatpong’s last film, Memoria, was filmed in Colombia with Tilda Swinton and went on to win the Jury Prize at Cannes film festival in 2021. He also won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010 for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
Referring to the Memoria shoot, he said: “In Colombia, it was more complicated because of the bigger production, the language. For Sri Lanka, I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d like to not have a concrete list of things to shoot each day. What would be the same as in Colombia is the mode of not knowing what you want.”
While he didn’t explain exactly how Arthur C. Clarke has inspired the film, he said of the writer: “He lived and died in Sri Lanka, and one of his books, The Fountains Of Paradise, is set in a fictional land based on a Sri Lankan landscape.”
Arthur C. Clarke also wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was adapted as a feature by Stanley Kubrick in 1969.
Apichatpong said another source of inspiration is an article written by a Thai woman who went to Sri Lanka on a religious pilgrimage. “She speaks about climbing a holy mountain, the same one that inspired Clarke’s story, so I’m going to go check it out.”
It could also be a long film as he said he’s written a “treatment for a three or four-hour movie, just from my imagination, from what I dream about”. He also said: “The human attention span is 90 minutes, and the dream cycle is also 90 minutes. To make it longer is like a challenge”.
Memoria is screening at Metrograph in a 35MM print starting Friday, February 17.
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