Blue (2018) dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
“There is nothing quite like sleep. It’s a place where you can just be in this state or narrative, and that’s when you open up to all kinds of connections and possibilities.” So says the director of today’s short, celebrated Thai slow cinema master Apichatpong Weerasethakul. And he backs it up, not just with themes of sleep and dreaming in his short, feature and installation work. He declares that he delights in sleeping during movies, other peoples’ and his own. And fortunately, considering the often slow pace of his nonetheless extraordinary body of work, he’s okay with audience members nodding off during his movies, too. From that same interview: “Perhaps when they wake up in between [scenes], they’ll see it from a fresh perspective.”
“Blue” begins with restlessness and ends with sleep. There’s an invitation to ponder how the images were created in the visible seams in the production. The scrolling landscapes, the visible film equipment, the glass reflecting the fire. Maybe the woman’s insomnia comes from her mind also wondering over her surroundings, asking herself what she’s doing under the blanket in a jungle and if she’s on fire.
Beloved Solutor Rosy Fingers once mentioned enjoying a “cinema nap,” a very freeing revelation to hear from somebody, with its permission to enjoy dozing in a dark theater. I stop short of saying it’s a recommended method of engaging with a movie, but the times I’ve started a movie at home a bit too late or a bit too drunk or spent a free afternoon in a theater with a film with just the right soothing rhythm – intentional or otherwise – the sleep is deep an honest. So if you need a siesta and work in an environment that allows it, putting on “Blue” and nodding off for a bit this lunch hour is a fine way to watch.