By Stephen Rakower
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethaku wins the Palm D'or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives a mystical reincarnation tale of a man with acute kidney failure who chooses to spend his final days with his loved ones in the countryside.
Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave - the birthplace of his first life.
The film is the sixth for the 39 year old director who likes to be called by his nickname, Joe, and the first Palm d'Or for Thailand.
Joe is outspoken about the current political troubles in Thailand, and the recent deadly clashes in the streets of Bangkok.
He says the clashes are due to the wide divide between the rich and the poor.
He is lobbying for more Thai government funding of films. This year he said, Thailand announced a new government film fund of $6.2 million, with half going to one film directed by a Thai prince to do a historical film. Just before flying to France to the Cannes Film Festival, he said he was lobbying Thailand's Ministry of Culture for more transparency in film funding.
Joe is the son of two doctors who moved from Bangkok to the northeast part of Thailand and built a hospital there. His film is set in the same northeast location as his childhood.
From 1994 to 1997, Joe attended the Chicago Art Institute where he was exposed to many kinds of films, especially experimental films. He initially had alot of challenges...
A new musical, The Yellow Wood, by Michelle Elliott and Danny Larsen, has taken root at The Acorn Theatre in New York. Directed by BD Wong and presented by the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) and Gold Modern, performances run through October 1, 2007.
The triple threats Wong has assembled for his directorial debut include Jason Tam, Yuka Takara, MaryAnn Hu, Randy Blair, Caissie Levy, Paul Clausen, Jill Abramovitz, Elizabeth Lundberg, Sean Bradford, Dennis Moench, Scot Fedderly, and Marnie Schulenburg.
Jason Tam stars as seventeen-year-old Adam, a biracial Korean American with ADD. It’s a brand new school day, and Adam decides not to take his Ritalin to prove to himself he has beaten his disorder. He’s also saddled with taking care of his brainy little sister Gwen (Yuka Takara) on her first day at his school, navigating the class president elections with his best friend, Casserole (Randy Blair) and trying to memorize Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ to recite for his English class. Struggling to get past the first line ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…’ his hyperactive imagination takes hold and manifests itself in all kinds of scenarios in a yellow wood that has appeared. While trying to get the poem completely memorized by seventh period, he makes a connection with Willis (Caissie Levy) who has...