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The Jungle as Borderzone: The Aesthetics of Nature in the Work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul


Boehler, Natalie (2011). The Jungle as Borderzone: The Aesthetics of Nature in the Work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Austrian Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 4(2):290-304.

Abstract

In Thai cinema, nature is often depicted as an opposition to the urban sphere, forming a contrast in
ethical terms. This dualism is a recurring and central theme in Thai representations and an important
carrier of Thainess (khwam pen Thai). The fi lmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul off ers a new
take on this theme. Signifi cant parts of his work are set in the jungle, a realm radically diff erent from
the agricultural sphere that the mainstay of Thai representations tends to focus on. In Apichatpong’s
work, the wilderness becomes a liminal space, on multiple levels. This paper focuses on how this
liminality translates into Apichatpong’s aesthetics of the jungle and on how this aesthetics and the
fi lms’ narrations negotiate Thai nationhood via the perception of the spectators.

In Thai cinema, nature is often depicted as an opposition to the urban sphere, forming a contrast in
ethical terms. This dualism is a recurring and central theme in Thai representations and an important
carrier of Thainess (khwam pen Thai). The fi lmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul off ers a new
take on this theme. Signifi cant parts of his work are set in the jungle, a realm radically diff erent from
the agricultural sphere that the mainstay of Thai representations tends to focus on. In Apichatpong’s
work, the wilderness becomes a liminal space, on multiple levels. This paper focuses on how this
liminality translates into Apichatpong’s aesthetics of the jungle and on how this aesthetics and the
fi lms’ narrations negotiate Thai nationhood via the perception of the spectators.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Cinema Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
900 History
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:29 Feb 2012 15:43
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:30
Publisher:Society for South-East Asian Studies
ISSN:1999-2521
Official URL:http://www.seas.at/?page_id=546
Related URLs:http://www.seas.at (Publisher)
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-57260

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