“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” to play at DFT this season. Go watch it.
If you peruse the Detroit Film Theatreâ€™s Winter Schedule, youâ€™ll see slated for a few April-May showings the Thai import Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Yes, thatâ€™s a few months awayâ€”but that just gives more time to clear your schedule. The filmâ€™s maker, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, has provided the greatest leap forward for world celluloidâ€”his work serves asÂ a bullet through the temple of the cinema of the formulaic and dried-upâ€”since Abbas Kiarostami. Nevertheless, only a cabalâ€™s worth of Americans have seen his work.
To the surprise of the masses and the dismay of cinema elites, Uncle Boonmee won the Palme dâ€™Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. It very much was a blind-sider. Apichatpong is a mere 40-years-old, and, as far as Iâ€™m concerned, had already made two masterpieces before Uncle Boonmee hit Cannes. The surprise comes from the fact that Apichatpongâ€™s films are quiet and meditative as opposed to loud and flashy.
Anyways, onto those masterpieces (both of which are available on DVD): 2004â€™s Tropical Malady is a love story (between a soldier and country boy) with a perplexing two-part structure all its own. The first half shows the budding of their relationship; the second half, which is based largely on Thai folklore, transforms the country boy into an enigmatic tiger intermittently chasing, and being chased by, the soldier. (Also included is a talking baboon.) 2006â€™s Syndromes and a Century has also has a two-part structure, but actually tells the same storyâ€”of how Apichatpongâ€™s doctor parents met in a hospital settingâ€”twice, with minor variations. At the end of the film, the plot is eschewed entirely to make way for some beautiful and terrifying images and sounds.
â€śSublimeâ€ť is the word to describe these films, as Iâ€™ve scarcely come across as â€śpureâ€ť an aesthetic in art. Here is trailer for Uncle Boonmee. See you in April.