In Confusion is Next, filmmaker Mont Tesprateep focuses his lens on nomadic musician Thom Assajan-Jakgawan, who appears as a fictionalised version of himself. Living in a fragile state, a collapsed country, Thom solitarily confines himself in a bare room filled with tree branches hovering above a leaf-covered ground. Through meditative exploration—and the loops and layers of his sounds—he creates a powerful mantra of protection.
The ‘real’ Thom Assajan-Jakgawan was— along with Tesprateep—a member of the Thai underground band Assajan Jakgawan. Formed more than a decade ago, the band members have since gone their separate ways, one bandmate sadly passing away. But Thom continues to make music under the name Thom AJ Madson, utilising guitar, mics, loop machines and other objects in his two current projects: Sap (‘bewitched’) and Vimutti, which means ‘liberation’ in the Pali language.
A continuation of Tesprateep’s unique body of surreal, black-and-white 16mm films depicting subjects at the fringes of Thai society, Confusion is Next is inspired by Endel Tulving’s hypothesis on ‘mental time travel’, in which mechanisms of memory can evoke the future. The film’s raw atmosphere, along with its confrontation of different selves and personas, leads toward an ambiguous but still threatening finale. —Herb Shellenberger & Peter Taylor