Monday, November 24, 2014

Blind Spot: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Wonderfully obtuse.

Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakful
Produced by Simon Field, Hans W. Geissendörfer, Keith Griffiths, Luis Miñarro, Michael Weber and Apichatpong Weerasethakful
Written by Apichatpong Weerasethakful (based on a book)
Starring Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas and Sakda Kaewbuadee

Plot Summary: The title says it all: Uncle Boonmee (Saisaymar), who is dying, recalls his past lives.

Significance: One of the most critically-acclaimed films in recent years, it was featured in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (#132 in the directors poll and #202 in the critics one). It also won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, among other awards.

Thoughts: Weerasethakful's confounding drama is a dreamlike fantasy that can be as confusing as it is awe-inspiring. The film is very loose with its story, and some scenes, such as the moment between the woman and the fish, are more beautiful, compelling and bizarre than others. Though I can't praise it as much as others have, the film is an interesting cinematic experience, if not an exercise in fully comprehensible storytelling. No doubt, the film requires additional viewings, but it does have its memorable moments - especially the ending - on a first watch. If you're interested in a challenging viewing experience, this would be a good choice.

Rating: ***1/2

This is the eleventh film in my 2014 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.


  1. I saw this last year and... man, it blew me away as I hope to check out more of his work.

    1. While I don't LOVE it, I really admire the film, and I want to give it another look eventually.

  2. I think I remember seeing a trailer for this one pop up on the front page of IMDB once. It certainly seemed like a very spiritual film though I don't remember much of what the trailer had to offer.

    I guess that just leaves you with Birth of a Nation, then. I understand that's a difficult one to handle due to its subject matter but at the same time a crucial one to study because of how much it influenced modern filmmaking. I've only seen it in bits and pieces myself, never gone through the whole thing but as film student I'll probably have to sooner or later.

    Right now I just have White Hunter, Black Heart to watch in December and then I'll have finished my 2014 list. Then I can get started on my 2015 list that has a bit more variety now with movies going back as far as 1925:

    1. Great stuff, John. I meant to watch Birth of a Nation earlier, but it's come down to my last one. I still need to finalize my 2015 list, which will probably include at least one film from the 1910's to the 2010's again.

  3. Wow, that's one hell of a title. I've never even heard of this film, but it sounds interesting. Great write up!

    1. Thanks! Haha, I love the title. The film definitely has its memorable moments, and I want to revisit it at some point.