I read a lot of reviews of Tropical Malady and even the reviews that are positive seemed to say they weren't quite sure what they saw. Do you like playing with narrative in that way? So that I can put something into it, or do you see it as a very linear story?
For me, it sounds ignorant, but it's true, I make films for myself. I make this thing as channeling my feelings that sometimes are so painful to live without communicating. I have a hard time talking with people, communicating my ideas, and to write doesn't seem as comfortable as making film. So, it's the way that I can continue to journal in a way, so making Tropical Malady... I really care less how people approach the film, as long as I can really get it out of my chest. But some people can connect to it on a certain level, and it is lucky for me that some of them share a certain experience, certain feelings. In the beginning, when I made short films, the audiences were very disoriented, but after a while, they got used to my style. It's like getting to know a person. There are many practices, you know, writing, filmmaking, so in a Hollywood-kind, you hook them with narrative, you please them. But, for me, I'm not trying to please. I'm just being myself. So, it's the same. If you get to know me, I have many angles. So, it's a very frank way of doing filmmaking.
And Blissfully Yours was banned in Thailand?
It was censored.
Oh, so it did show?
And, your new film, Syndromes and a Century, opens in Thailand in two weeks. What has the reaction been from Thai audiences to your work?
We had a press screening and it went very well, even though it's super-personal. But, I think they understand me more as a person. They're relaxed more, they're open more, simply watching and enjoy the sensory of images and sound. So, I guess I'm getting better. Making friends.
Well, you said it's like getting to know a person. So, in addition to that level, is there another cultural level? Where the Thai audiences will get certain references to jungles and tigers, unlike me growing up in America?
Definitely. There are references of living in Thailand, growing up in Thailand, certain jokes, and... movement. So, when showing Syndrome in Thailand, there are several laughs to things that we can't translate in subtitles.