Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010?) Review (Not Rated)

Apparently this was a Thai meditation on death and transition. I say ‘apparently’ because after seeing it, I’m not really sure. This is a very old style of storytelling that many here in the west will not understand or appreciate. It is as far from the MTV music video style editing as maybe you can possibly get. There are long… LOOOOONG… stretches where the camera remains static and/or there is no dialogue. Even when everyone exits a scene the camera lingers. Was this deliberate to signify something? I don’t know.

The movie was, for me, both haunting and cryptic. Perhaps if I were more familiar with the teachings of Bhudism I might have gotten a little more out of it. I do think I got the thrust of what the director was trying to say here… It’s a very upbeat look at death as part of life. The movie doesn’t stop to explain anything, though.

There are some very strange happenings that might seem out of the blue. I do believe the stories (within the story) of the son and the princess are both stories of people who are unhappy with their lives and end up becoming other creatures so I guess spiritual ascension and reincarnation are covered. I do think even if you don’t ‘get’ the film, it’ worth seeing just for it’s visual imagery.

There is a real serenity to the entire film. It conveys the fear of imminent death and the acceptance of it not only by the one that’s going to die from terminal illness, but by friends and family. A very pleasant take on life and death.  It was made for Thai culture and anyone outside of that is not going to totally be armed with the necessary information to process what’s going on in the story. Still a movie worth seeing, though. But I wouldn’t watch it if I were one to get impatient easily. It is an ex-treme-ly sloooooooooooooow… Moving.


3.5 of 5


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