Thursday, 12 August 2010


(Apichatpong Weerasethakul; France/ Germany/ Spain/ Thailand; 2010)

Weerasethakul constructs films like no other. His films may be described as elliptic, but narrative is never ignored – rather there is ceaseless striving to find new ways of telling visual stories. The calm, unhurried pace of his work belies a vigour at the heart of his composition, with many shots and sequences exuding an intense sensorial experience. After predominantly spending time inside a hospital for Syndromes and a Century, Weerasethakul returns to the forest. His latest film is perhaps his warmest, despite the mournful premise that Uncle Boonmee is peacefully preparing to die. Weerasethakul fits magical and supernatural elements quite naturally within the framework of this film, as if the slow shimmering return of Boonmee's deceased wife, or the quiet return of his long-missing son as a Monkey Ghost, a hairy, Yeti-like creature, are almost common, explicable occurrences.
It is incredible how Weerasethakul presents not just one world but many worlds, all layered on top on each other, as if alternate worlds naturally erupt through the membrane of the world we think we know. Time feels alive, as if it is sentient, aware of it's own movement, therefore not necessarily moving chronologically. Weerasethakul explicitly highlights how time can loop on itself in the film's coda, accentuating a sense of mystery and wonder within the everyday world.
Exquisitely shot, the scenes in the forest have to be seen on the big screen – the nocturnal deep green hues of trees in semi-darkness, enveloping the piercing red-eyed shadows of the monkey ghosts, create an environment that haunts the memory long after the film is over.

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