With only his second feature, Apichatpong Weerasethakul vaulted to the top tier of global filmmakers. BLISSFULLY YOURS marked the first of Apichatpong’s many premieres at Cannes, where the film raised eyebrows with its languid pacing, its casually frank sexuality, and even its opening-credits sequence. (Wait for it!)
Shot like most of Apichatpong’s features in Thailand’s heavily rural Isan region, BLISSFULLY YOURS cleaves neatly into two sections, a device reprised in TROPICAL MALADY and SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY. In the first section—set in Apichatpong’s childhood home of Khon Kaen and incorporating his parents’ clinic—Roong (Kanokporn Tongaram) and Orn (Jenjira Pongpas Widner, who became an Apichatpong regular) tend to Roong’s boyfriend Min (Min Oo), who is afflicted with an ugly rash.
The three then skip out on their jobs for the film’s second act: an extended jaunt in the woods. Min and Roong share some sexual exploits, and Orn a rather less idyllic fling with her husband’s co-worker. The events of the first section are reasserted and recontextualized, with Min’s unsettled ailment linked to his unsettled political situation. A film about “getting away from it all,” BLISSFULLY YOURS acknowledges the basic impossibility of this ideal—the project tellingly began as a sci-fi movie, and a deleted subplot had Min constantly tracked by a device of unknown origin. But it finds beauty in those fleeting moments when the ideal seems within grasp, as though in a waking dream.