CROSSROADS Film Festival Highlight

People on Sunday
September 1–30, 2021

Now in its twelfth year, San Francisco Cinematheque’s annual CROSSROADS film festival (streaming online September 17–23, 2021) continues its dedication to exhibiting contemporary avant-garde film, video, and performance work. Founded in 2010, CROSSROADS has become a significant international film/video showcase and festival choice for filmmakers to premiere and screen work, as well as a favorite of engaged curators, film enthusiasts, like-minded filmmakers, and loyal community members.

CROSSROADS Festival Highlight: People on Sunday
Tulapop Saenjaroen, 2020, 21 mins, digital video, color, sound

People on Sunday is a reinterpretation, response, and homage to the 1930 German silent film Menschen Am Sonntag, but from a different context, country, era, and working conditions. The original film was one of the first films marketed as a film featuring amateur actors/non-actors. It even was subtitled “a film without actors.” One anecdote recounts how the film was shot only on Sundays because these non-professional actors had to work on weekdays. What seizes my attention is the setting of the story — it’s simply about their day off, life in free time. These non-professional actors performed for the camera as if they were enjoying free time when they were actually working. In other words, they worked/acted as if they were not working/not acting. This film provokes the question of representation of free time, of cognitive labor, of contemporary work ethic, and of control and freedom via the frame of cinema. (Tulapop Saenjaroen)

Tulapop Saenjaroen is an artist and filmmaker currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. His recent works explore the correlations between image production and subjectivity, as well as the paradoxes intertwining control and freedom in late capitalism. In combining narrative and the essay film genre, he investigates subjects such as tourism, self-care, and free labor by remaking and reinterpreting produced images. Saenjaroen received his MFA in Fine Art Media from the Slade School of Fine Art and his MA in Aesthetics and Politics from CalArts.

Saenjaroen’s works have been shown in exhibitions and screenings internationally including the Locarno Festival; International Film Festival Rotterdam; Images Festival, Toronto; Image Forum, Tokyo; Museum of the Moving Image, NYC; Asia Culture Center, Gwangju; Harvard Film; and the Seoul International New Media Festival.

People on Sunday screens courtesy of the artist.

Header image: Tulapop Saenjaroen, People on Sunday, 2020 (still); courtesy the artist