When I first encountered Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), I had no idea how important to me he would become. His films mercifully allow me a window into another world. They are a method of escape, but not in the way you typically think of that word. This is not a “check your brain at the door” type of escape. This is an escape that is demanding. You earn your residence in this world through earnest participation and engagement. Your reward is stillness and Weerasethakul offers this reward with tenderness and skill. I am not, by nature, a peaceful person. His work, however, especially this film, helps me reach a place that is otherwise hard for me to get to. His trademark preoccupations of memory, transformation, the rural versus the urban, illness, family, and reincarnation are all front and center here and navigating them in this experimental framework is the most pleasing puzzle to me. The thing that stays with me long after the credits roll is how every decision we make is a departure point for infinite possibilities. That gives me great comfort. It’s a bewildering, uplifting experience every time I watch it and I am grateful for that.
What you’ll find in this episode: our pup Gibson’s review of the film, six styles in six reels, amorous catfish, monkey ghosts, Weerasethakul’s pop influences, and how thin the veil is between our world and the next.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Three Colors: Blue.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Syndromes and a Century.
Marcus Pinn’s beautiful recounting of his deeply personal connection to Uncle Boonmee.
A look at how ghosts and modern Thai culture intersect.
Next time you’re in a 7-11 in Thailand, pick up some Thai horror comics!