Leeds International Film Festival 2010 reviews for Film & Festivals Magazine

Ghosts, ghouls and out of body experiences all feature in Thai film-maker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s extraordinary Cannes Palm d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. A farmer and man of the land Boonmee has an incurable illness and has gathered his family around him in anticipation of his death. Although adopting the relatively conventional narrative structure of a dying man looking back over his life, the film conjures up a bizarre world where realism, mysticism and Thai folklore all co-exist to convey its message. This could be interpreted as a re-appraisal of our position within the natural order where the stunning landscape and wildlife of the northern Thai jungle are given almost equal billing to the human characters – an eco message, perhaps, but themes of spirituality play a strong role throughout the film. At one point Uncle Boonmee says that his illness is due to bad karma because he has killed communists and bugs, and it is clear from the overall tone of the film that the statement is intended to promote the status of the latter rather than to denigrate the former. Boonmee’s connection with his environment is underlined as we witness his final moments in a “womb-like” cave but nothing is preparation for the stunning final sequence when the family come together one more time.
– more here or here

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