Luminous People

Thailand / Portugal 2007
15 minutes / Super-8 to 35mm, 1,85:1, Dolby SRD / Colour

Director / Camera / Editor: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas, Nophakraw Ngawvichai, Prasit Donsung, Somchai Matimata, Garuna Luktoomtong, Somchat Aksornsiri, Surasak Krotchaompu, Sudsakorn Ngawvichai
Voices: Akekarat Homlaor, Nitipong Thinthupthai, Chadil Yuenying
Post Production Supervisor: Lee Chatametikool
Sound Designer: Akaritchalerm Kalayanamitr
Art Director: Akekarat Homlaor
Costume: Suphapich Thitithammasak
Stills: Chukiat Wongsuwan
Assistant Director: Suchada Sirithanawuddhi
Prop Masters: Nitipong Thinthupthai, Montri Busayasiri
Continuity: Manita Niyomprasit
Producer: Luis Correia
Production: Lx Filmes, Lisbon; Kick the Machine, Bangkok

Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (Quinzaine des réalisateurs), 16 – 27 May 2007, as part of the omnibus film O Estado do Mundo / The State of the World commissioned by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, to mark its 50th Anniversary. The other directors were Ayisha Abraham, Chantal Akerman, Pedro Costa, Vicente Ferraz, Wang Bing.
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LUMINOUS PEOPLE is a recreation of an event to commemorate the presence of the dead and the decayed memories of the living, of filmmaking.

A group of people is in a boat traveling along Mekong River that stretches along the Thai-Laos border. They are running against the wind, anticipating a farewell. In the middle of the river, the lady head of the family casts the ashes off into the stream. The white dust merges with the muddy water. The boat makes a u-turn at the bridge that links two countries. The passengers are tired and start to drift off into their own world. The film disintegrates. The crew and the cast wander off in the river of simulation. The border links the worlds of the dead and of the living. The memory of an anonymous dead father lingers. The boat still moves on as the dusk arrives.

Apichatpong and his crew traveled to Nong Khai, a small town near Mekong River, and recruited local villagers to participate in the project. For two days while on the boat, the crew and cast reconstructed a fake ceremony and find a narrative. Later, some of the crewmembers watched the footage and their conversations were recorded. During the process, one of them reprised a story of his dead father who came to visit him in his dream. Apichatpong asked him to sing for the film.