Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2011) – Apichatpong Weerasetakul

What a strange but affecting movie is this Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. I guess the title was a giveaway but this Thai picture exists in a place uninhabited by many movies and having seen it right after watching a movie like Warrior, familiar as a the back of one’s hand, Uncle Boonmee and it’s ape-people and its fish-sex was in order. Uncle Boonmee is a ghost story, a lovely one about a man who is dying and is visited by his wife and son, both dead. He remembers things and is consoled by his memories and certainly by his visitors. For the last moments of the film we are returned to everyday normalcy and it becomes clear how less magical logic is. The movie is beautiful and glides through it’s story like a content man on a stroll and in the face of death, that is comforting. It has a dreamy quality that fits directly into the story of this man going from life to death. The bizarre things that happen could be off-putting (to many people I imagine they will take them right out of the movie) but the matter-of-fact recognition of these oddities make it seem almost natural that Boonmee’s son would return to him as an ape with glowing red eyes. Some of the moments are simply too much to be taken seriously but they do achieve a satisfying whole and put across a coherent message, a eulogy for a man told by the man himself. The epilogue is bittersweet not just because the man is gone but because it leaves you longing for the weird and wonderful world thatĀ precededĀ it.

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