Waterfall


Thailand / Portugal 2005
8 screen installation, various lengths, loops / Digital, Stereo / Colour
Director / Camera / Editor: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Sakda Kaewbuadee
Assistant Directors: Suchada Sirithanawuddhi, Sompot Chidgasornpongse
Art Director: Akekarat Homlaor
Art Assistants: Chadil Yuenying, Montri Busayasiri

Commissioned by Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival, Vila do Conde, Portugal. Presented at the Solar Cinematic Gallery, Vila do Conde, 8 July – 3 September 2005
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October 13, 2005. The Bell 206 helicopter, on its way from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai, crashed into a waterfall as a result of poor visibility during bad weather.

The officers who died were named as Maj-General Phairat Thongjattu, his aide Major Wisit Worrawitwatthana, and pilots Captain Thonglor Narkphoo and Captain Phoomin Sha-uthai. The wreckage was found at the foot of Mae Kerng waterfall, two kilometres from Wiang Kosai National Park. A 400-strong joint police and military force carried out the search for the wreckage.

“Until I see his body, I still maintain my belief that he is still alive,” Suphattra, Phairat’s widow said.






















We were moving to the east because we liked the feeling of being along the seashore. We drove past Chonburi to Chantaburi in the afternoon. The shophouses on the street looked the same like everywhere else in Thailand. But in the east, the sky is always gray and there is a smell of the earth and saltwater. Then I thought about the last film we just finished. A part of it was about the sun and its healing energy. Now when the shooting was done and the rainy season approached, the sun disappeared. Tong who sat in the front seat always put on disco music. A month ago we went camping at a national park on the west. Around midnight Tong sat on a grass and watched the stars. He told me he was in love with a French guy who lived in Hong Kong.


It took us two hours to climb to the top level of Kao Chamao waterfall. There were seven of us. After level 5 there were no other people because the terrain was steep. We could not go further when we reached the top. Ake and his friends were lying on the rocks near the water, facing the clouds. I was busy taking photographs. Down below there was a school of fish. An image from the film appeared in my mind - an old woman touching a teenager’s head. She was healing him with a power of the sun. The water can also heal people like the sun does. There is a water therapy at hospitals. It washes out some memories and preserves some.
























In the evening we found a hotel at a nearby small town. It was a run down concrete building that the traveling salesmen often stayed in. We had a room on the 3rd floor. At a corridor, I called my friend Wut who works at a Honda plant in Chonburi. I met him last year and we traveled to some places together. One time we went to a temple on the hill. It was late in the evening and we could see below the rafts floating along the river. People in the rafts had disco music on. Wut listened to me on the phone, to my story as he was driving back home. I told him about why I went to the waterfall. There was the helicopter, there was Tong my actor, and there was a killer man in Bangkok whom we called the Heartbreaker. Wut told me to just erase the memories because they were useless. People operated on a different reality. It is not your reality, he said. I thought about a woman who imagined her soldier husband still alive in the jungle.





























The next day we took a boat to an island. We stayed at a bungalow near the beach. We drifted in the water until the sun went down. From a friend’s shoulders, I somersaulted into the sea. It was a night with full moon. From the sea the mountains were black.