“The audiovisual works of Naween Noppakun” by Thai PBS // 9 Feb 2024

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Momo Distribution Grant // 4 March 2024

Le Polyester // 6 Feb 2024

 

Thai director – Naween Noppakun – has just been crowned at the Rotterdam Film Festival with his mind-blowing short film Crazy Lotus. People are immersed in an alternative, confusing and dizzying world. Between SF reverie and experimental film, Crazy Lotus is an incredible journey which gives the impression of wearing the same psychedelic glasses as the protagonists. This dream of sparkling pinks and purples, investing in the strangest reality, is of a radical absurdity which makes us ask: “but what are we seeing?” . This is indeed an exciting question to ask yourself while watching a film. Naween Noppakun presents this indescribable short film.

 


 

What was the starting point for Crazy Lotus?

I needed to make a film about being in the age of remote connection. In the virtual world, I can have a friend or know someone’s life, without that person even being aware of who I am. How is it possible ? This question still haunts me. I also know that in the microscopic world, the probability of two atoms meeting is very rare. I see a similarity between our everyday life and atoms. Then I began creating the fictional dimension called Blank Clock, where the inhabitants rarely meet in person. If the opportunity presents itself, in the film, it is called Good Seconds.

I am also drawn to spring tides caused by the powerful force of gravity between the earth, sun and moon. This process interests me because it is the obvious outcome of instability, and this is what I also retain from the Buddhist concept. I can see a certain relationship between scientific forces (mechanical, quantum and gravity) and the essence of Buddhism.

In the film, Crazy Lotus is an entropy phenomenon of sight and hearing, around the shore of Blank Clock during spring tides. No one knows the mechanism behind it, and this phenomenon prevents Good Seconds from taking place. However, there is energy in the unknown, the unthinkable and the unimaginable. And someone in Crazy Lotus is trying to invent something in order to get these Good Seconds.

 


 

You have managed to create a whole visual universe for your film. How did you work on the decor and urban spaces to make it seem like everything is happening in another dimension?

I think this comes largely from the overflowing lighting effect, which makes them look like a sort of non-place. We don’t see this in everyday reality. My intention is to create a completely fictional universe without any point of reference to our reality. I wanted the visual aspect to be plastic, materialist, while being a critique of capitalism, like the work of Jeff Koons. I don’t intend to make the public believe this story because it would seem real. I wanted Crazy Lotus to look real and unreal at the same time. The concept of “eternal in-between” is also applied here.

 


 

Can you tell us about your striking use of color in Crazy Lotus?

The pink color comes from the twilight sky of Bangkok as we can sometimes observe it. This twilight pink is quite rare and only occurs when a series of coincidences come together. They are my Good Seconds. Twilight is the transition from light to dark and vice versa. It creates confusion and happiness at the same time. It’s the only moment where I feel the implosion of the present.

In the film, Blank Clock is a non-temporal dimension. It’s something that sits in between, for eternity, with endless possibilities, so the color twilight pink is the perfect answer to use for the entire film. The pixelated colors come from a visual technique whose concept I borrowed from spectral music. Metaphorically, these colors constitute a harmonic series of musical notes for me.

 


 

Who are your favorite filmmakers and/or who inspire you?

The works of Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Bresson and Marguerite Duras constitute my favorite triangle. Their cinematic language and their thoughts on what cinema can be inspired me in such a way that I will do my best to continue their unfinished tasks. The early works of David Cronenberg (like Videodrome) and George Lucas (like THX1138) also play a big role in my interest in science fiction filmmaking!

 


 

When was the last time you had the feeling of seeing something new, of discovering a new talent on screen?

I just had this feeling at the Rotterdam Festival! Some works in the short film competition blew me away. I have also seen feature films from the Limelight program, which are like a new cinematic experience for me. I think that’s the best thing about participating in a film festival like Rotterdam. I am always looking for new language possibilities in the virtual world. I like watching more and more TikTok videos. These videos have a language of their own, and it is also a form of novelty.

 

Translated from Le Polyester ( 6 Feb 2024 )