Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chat

Thailand/United Kingdom/France/Germany/Spain/The Netherlands, 2010.  , , , The Match Factory, Geißendörfer Film- und Fernsehproduktion, Eddie Saeta S.A., , Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Développement International, World Cinema Fund, Hubert Bals Fund, Ministry of Culture Thailand, Office of the Contemporary Art and Culture, ZDF/Arte, Haus der Kunst, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Animate Projects Limited.  Screenplay by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, inspired by the book by .  Cinematography by . Produced by , , , , , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  

A woman and her son come from the city to a small village to stay with her brother-in-law who is dying of kidney failure. One night at dinner they are visited by the apparition of his late wife and her sister, which is followed by the appearance of his son, who disappeared years ago and is now transformed into a monkey spirit with beaming laser-like red eyes. From there the film veers completely into the spiritual as we go through many of the dying man’s past lives, with director Apichatpong Weerasethakul skirting the line between the physical world and the spiritual in a film rich with hypnotic imagery and magic realism. Those whom we in the snobby art world refer to as “narratively oriented” will be totally turned off by it—there are times when Weerasethakul’s sense of storytelling simply makes no sense—but others will be completely won over by the dreamy visuals and the sense of romanticism in its non-linear way of exploring the human soul. Then there’s a lengthy scene of a woman copulating with a fish that you simply don’t want to miss. Images of a dusky forest inhabited by giant apelike creatures with beaming eyes are simply unforgettable in a film whose sensual pleasures completely make up for its frustratingly puzzling style.

Cannes Film Festival Award:  Palme D’Or

Toronto International Film Festival:  2010

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