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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | 1 September 2010 (France)
1:40 | Trailer

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On his deathbed, Uncle Boonmee recalls his many past lives.


(inspired by the book of),
9 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Thanapat Saisaymar ...
Jenjira Pongpas ...
Natthakarn Aphaiwonk ...
Geerasak Kulhong ...
Wallapa Mongkolprasert ...
Kanokporn Tongaram ...
Roong (as Kanokporn Thongaram)
Samud Kugasang ...
Sumit Suebsee ...
Mathieu Ly ...
Vien Pimdee ...
Akachai Aodvieng
Prakasit Padsena
Nikom Kammach
Chophaka Chaiyuchit


Suffering from acute kidney failure, Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave - the birthplace of his first life. Written by Lament

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1 September 2010 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Amcam önceki hayatlarini hatirliyor  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$23,540 (USA) (4 March 2011)


$183,605 (USA) (5 August 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Selected as the Thai submission to the Academy Awards Foreign Language Film category though it didn't make the final five. See more »


The first time a ghost appears, during dinner, the nephew passes the ghost a glass of water. You can see the ghost image superimposed over the nephew's arm when he places the glass of water on the table. See more »


Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #1.23 (2011) See more »


Written, Produced, and Vocals by Jettamon Malayota (as Jettamont Malayoda)
Mixed Down and Mastered by Penguin Villa and Vannareut Pongprayoon
at Smallroom Publishing Rights and Copyright: Smallroom Co., Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

These Hybrid Moments
16 March 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This years Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, "Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives" is the story of a man who is dying, and as result recalls his past lives and is visited by ghosts and spirits.

There are ape spirit creatures who lives in the forest attracted by his sickness, he remembers being an ox and a princess, we watch a nurse drain some device the ailing Boonme wears fixed to his abdomen.

This was the first film I watched at 2010's AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles, and it was a start that was not followed easily. The film is strange but the words which feel most appropriate to the film are "gentle" and "mysterious".

Boonme's final days are spent with his sister and a nurse and their various supernatural guests. They eat dinner, watch films, look at photo albums, life unfolds but with an awareness of a mysterious shift coming. As death approaches, past lives and those human, animal, or other appear ever-shifting and inter connected, foreign but also familiar, like relatives returned after a long absence."Uncle Boonme" is the final part of a multi-platform project featuring art installations and short films called "The Primitive Installation", about Nabua, Thailand a region heavily occupied by the Thai army from the 60's to the 80's. "Uncle Boonme" believes his karma is the result of the part he played in the violence of the past.Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul ("Joe" for short) has created a landscape of shadowy jungles, intimate bedroom lighting, a haunting, funny, dreamy, and wise, rhythmic lamentation about modern life, it's "primitive" counter points, death, change, spirit-monkeys and all that good stuff.

Uncle Boonme is a fantasy as epic as Souleymane Cisse's "Yeelen", one luminous to look at and visually wander through, with several of "Tropical Malady's"' most hallucinatory moments, appearing strong early in it's opening movements and closing out on notes as elliptical as those of "Syndromes And A Century", and then there's the final scene compressed into a wonderful kind of epilogue involving a monk, that's the most audacious, fascinating, and best of it's sort since Wes Anderson's "Hotel Chevalier"."

Transformations and contrasts between the ancient and the modern flow into one another from electronic bug zappers to sex with talking cat- fish, primordial caves to karaoke bars. Dual and multiple-roles and states within a single whole, are a recurring theme in the film, so multiple meanings and readings being generated is little surprise. But though these thoughts rise up haunting us after viewing, the images of movement through Nabua's phantom jungles and Boonme's warm goodbyes are what we are left feeling and reeling with.

All modern worlds are built on ancient ones, all new things have within them older forms. "Uncle Boonme" is more informed by Buddhist notions of reincarnation, the idiosyncratic personality of it's creator and the psycho-geography of it's location, more than normal concerns about dramatic and character arc. In simpler words...an old man who is dying can recall his past lives.

The film is a matter of perception as complex and post- modernist/globalized as any experimental narrative in avant-garde-dom or as mystical and "primitive" as any ancient Sutra, based on the cultural inclinations and presuppositions you bring to the film. In any event, is to Joe's continued success and cinemas continued fortune that he so playfully and beautifully can challenge and delight these hybrid perceptions of ours as he does.

31 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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