Acclaimed artist-filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine take us to Bangkok on a chaotic one-day journey through the concrete jungle of the South-Asian megacity in their film Big Ears Listen with Feet. Led by the moving personal story of Boonserm Premthada, one of Thailand’s most important architects, the 93-minute film unfolds as a free wander punctuated by encounters, events and places that have helped shape Premthada’s unique identity.
Born deaf, the architect shows how his disability led him to develop an alternative way of listening using his whole body as a resonance chamber of sound vibrations. Despite their large ears, elephants also perceive sound mostly through their feet: learning from elephants, Premthada has developed an architecture of the senses where sound vibrations become the voice of space.
The film reveals the architect’s active commitment to working with people for whom architecture can have a strong social impact. The film follows Premthada from the dark streets of the slum where he grew up, flying to remote communities living in symbiosis with elephants and observing old ladies’ devotion towards the Buddhist monks of their village.
Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine are video-artists, filmmakers, producers and publishers who have worked together since 2005. The duo experiments with new narrative and cinematographic forms relating to contemporary architecture and the urban environment and focusing on how the built environment shapes daily life. Their unique and personal approach can be defined, in reference to French writer Georges Perec, as an ‘anthropology of the ordinary’. Bêka and Lemoine's films have been selected and awarded by major film festivals including Cannes Films Festival, Mostra del Cinema di Venezia, CPH:DOX, DocAviv, Chicago International Film Festival and Torino Film Festival. Their films have also been presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2008, 2010, 2014), the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, the Seoul Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism 2017, and Performa 17 in New York.
On Gadigal land
Golden Age Cinema
80 Commonwealth St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
15 September 2023