I never expected Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul to become this popular. For one, his name is Apichatpong Weerasethakul (but he insists you call him "Joe"). Moreover, his films are gauzy reveries of a deceptively inaccessible variety - from the exquisite corpse of 'Mysterious Object at Noon' to the tender queer romance of his bifurcated masterpiece 'Tropical Malady,' Joe's films are all fractured abstractions of what it feels like to be alive on this earth, and how slippery that feeling can be. His non-linear stories are gleefully surprising and often very romantic, but they can feel as impenetrable as listening to a stranger share a dream about their friends, and ever since Joe dramatically ended his working relationship with Shia Labeouf his commercial prospects have looked rather dim (note: Joe has never actually worked with Shia Labeouf, but now that I've planted the seed I'm sure Shia's agent can hardly think about anything else).
But it's amazing what the film world's most prestigious prize can do for someone. 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives' won the Palme d'Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and now this movie about red-eyed monkey gods and sexually adventurous catfish (something in which the movie 'Catfish' is sorely lacking) is set to be distributed by Strand Releasing in 2011, and is one of the hottest tickets of the New York Film Festival.