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
It was listed second on Film Comment magazine's Best Films of 2011 list. 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 »
I'll be frank. Whether or not you enjoy this movie will depend largely on whether or not you are a die hard film buff or a casual movie goer looking for a story. If you are the later, then aside from the eerie sight of the red eyed Monkey Spirits, you will come away disappointed.
That said, there is much in Uncle Boonmee to like, but like the Buddhist aesthetic the film is steeped in, you have to be ready for it. Because this is one film that demands a lot of patience of the viewer.
Set in rural Isan Province, Thailand, the story follows the last days of a well to-do farmer, the titular Boonmee, who is dying of a terminal illness. Like all dying men, Boonmee can't help but wax philosophic, both on the nature of death itself and on his own past mistakes, and one night while eating with his family is suddenly and abruptly joined by two spirits, the first of his dead wife, Huay, the second that of his missing son, Boonsong, who has inexplicably been transformed into a black monkey. Anyone even remotely familiar with the prior work of Director Weerasethakul (try saying that with a mouthful of marbles), particularly Tropical Malady, will know that such surrealism is a common theme in his films, with its signature mix of traditional Thai Buddhism and animist lore. As in Tropical Malady, the day belongs to the living and the mundane, but night brings on ghosts, animal spirits, the shades of ancestors, and the inner musings and anxieties of Weerasethakul's characters.
The film itself feels much like a Buddhist temple; with its long uninterrupted and unadorned shots, and its devotion to capturing trivial moments, it is not so much a vehicle for storytelling as contemplation. The last film to be shot with celluloid as opposed to digital, it is the director's self-admitted funerary ode to a dying medium.
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