Since she appeared in my film in 2009, Jenjira Pongpas has changed her name. Like many Thais, she is convinced that the new name will bring her good luck. So Jenjira has become Nach, which means water. Not long after, she was drifting online and encountered a retired soldier, Frank, from Cuba, New Mexico, USA. A few months later they got married and she has officially become Mrs. Nach Widner.
The newlyweds found a house near the Mekong River where Nach had grown up. She spends most of her day crocheting baby socks for sale, while he enjoys gardening and watching television (sometimes without the sound because most of the programs are in Thai).
Cactus River is a diary of the time I visited the couple—of the various temperaments of the water and the wind. The flow of the two rivers—Nach and the Mekong, activates my memories of the place where I shot several films. Over many years, this woman whose name was once Jenjira has introduced me to this river, her life, its history, and to her belief about its imminent future. She is certain that soon there will be no water in the river due to the upstream constructions of dams in China and Laos. I noticed too, that Jenjira was no more. –Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul (Thai: อภิชาติพงศ์ วีระเศรษฐกุล; born July 16, 1970) is a Thai independent film director, screenwriter, and film producer. His feature films include Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, winner of the prestigious 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or prize; Tropical Malady, which won a jury prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival; Blissfully Yours, which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard program at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival; and Syndromes and a Century, which premiered at the 63rd Venice Film Festival and was the first Thai film to be entered in competition there.
Working outside the strict confines of the Thai film studio system, Weerasethakul has directed several features and dozens of short films. Themes reflected in his films (frequently discussed in interviews) include dreams, nature, sexuality (including his own homosexuality), and Western perceptions of Thailand and Asia, and his films… read more