(2000)3Elbert VenturaAn unusual, if ultimately soporific, blend of documentary and narrative filmmaking, Mysterious Object at Noon is stubbornly indefinable. Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, arguably Thailand's most internationally acclaimed filmmaker, has crafted an elliptical and genuinely experimental work that challenges our notions of authorship, authenticity, and narrative. The idea behind it is nothing if not intriguing: a story comprised of the different contributions of various people, whom Weerasethekul finds in his journeys across his native land. The resulting chain story -- told by the participants directly to the camera, interspersed with its interpretation by actors -- is a freewheeling mishmash of fantasy and folklore, at once conceptually fascinating and borderline incoherent. Filmed in grainy black and white, Mysterious Object at Noon is an intertextual experience, incorporating theater, literature, television, oral traditions and cinema verite in its approach. Interesting though it is as an avant-garde exercise, the movie eventually succumbs to longeurs, as it fails to sustain its conceptual novelty for the length of its slight running time.
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