Christine Smallwood

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Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul

Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul

If Weerasethakul’s movies are everything I think they are—mysterious, haunting, inventive—in a word, good—why do they make me fall asleep?

These are very slow, irruptively weird movies, where ugly faces break spontaneously into gorgeous, toothy grins and no one screams and runs away when a monkey-man shows up to dinner. Weerasethakul’s films present a challenge to the normal grammar of criticism, which strives to articulate what a work is “about.” What they are “about” is less interesting than what they are about to get into, or turn into.