Winner of the 2010 Palme d'Or Cannes Film Festival.
The latest film from the director of Syndromes and a Century, Tropical Malady and Blissfully Yours has propelled Apichatpong Weerasethakul into the spotlight.
Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the remote forest, an important place from his childhood and, he believes, the possible location of his former existences. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and the spirit of his long lost son returns. 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...
Eerie, poetic and masterful, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives creates an enchanted world where fauna and flora converge to convey a magical, sublime atmosphere.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok (1970) and grew up in Khon Kaen, north-eastern Thailand. He started making films and video shorts in 1994 and completed his first feature in 2000. He has also mounted exhibitions and installations in many countries since 1998. Often non-linear, his works link with memory, invoked in subtle ways personal politics and social issues. Working independently of the Thai commercial film industry, he devotes himself to promoting experimental and independent filmmaking through his company Kick the Machine Films, founded in 1999. Kick the Machine has produced all his feature films. In 2008, he embarked on the Primitive Project, a multi-platform work of which Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives is part. In 2009, he and his work were the subject of a monograph published by the Austrian Film Museum.
His art projects and feature films have won him widespread recognition and numerous festival prizes, including three prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. Blissfully Yours won the A Certain Regard Prize in 2002 and Tropical Malady won the Official Competition Jury Prize in 2004 and in 2010 Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives won the Palme d'Or. His acclaimed 2006 feature, Syndromes and a Century, was the first Thai film to be selected for competition at the Venice Film Festival and was acclaimed in a number of international polls as one of the best films of the last decade.
He lives and works in Chiangmai, Thailand. He is currently preparing his next project on the filmmaker and celebrated author Donald Richie.
2010 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat)
2006 Syndromes and a Century (Sang Sattawat)
2004 Tropical Malady (Sud Pralad)
2003 The Adventure of Iron Pussy (Huajai Toranong)
2002 Blissfully Yours (Sud Sanaeha)
2000 Mysterious Object at Noon (Dokfar Nai Meu Marn)
2009 A Letter to Uncle Boonmee
2008 Vampire/ Mobile Men
2007 Luminous People
2006 The Anthem
2005 Worldly Desires
2009 Primitive/Phantoms of Nabua
2007 Morakot (Emerald)/ The Palace/ Unknown Forces
2005 Ghost of Asia
Produced, written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Producers Simon Field, Keith Griffiths, Charles de Meaux, Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Co-Producers Hans W. Geissendoerfer, Luis Miñarro, Michael Weber
Associate Producers Caroleen Feeney, Joslyn Barnes, Danny Glover (Louverture Films), Holger Stern (ZDF/Arte)
Directors of Photography Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Yukontorn Mingmongkon, Charin Pengpanich
Production Designer Akekarat Homlaor
Sound Designers Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr, Koichi Shimizu
Editor and Post Supervisor Lee Chatametikool
Assistant Director and Line Producer Suchada Sirithanawuddhi
Production Manager Yaowalak Sae-Khow
Asst. Production Manager Narongwit Chanpan
2nd Assistant Directors Yingsiwat Yamolyong, Thanachart Siripatrachai
Production Assistant Sorayos Prapapan
Casting Panjai Sirisuvan, Sakda Kaewbuadee
Acting Coach Onwarin Niyomsataya
Location Panithan Pisittakarn
Account Administrator Parichat Puarree
Prop Master Nitipong Thintubthai
Costume Designer Chatchai Chaiyon
Costume Assistants Buangoen Ngamcharoenputtasri, Pattarachanon Keawkong
Special Make Up Achawan Pupawan
Continuity Kavis Kaveeravitorn
Sound Recordist Chalermrat Kaweewattana
Still Photographer Nontawat Numbenchapol
Nabua Photographers Chayaporn Maneesutham, Chaisiri Jiwarangsan
llluminations Films presents A Kick the Machine Films (THAILAND) and Illuminations Films Past Lives (UK) Production
in co-production with Anna Sanders Films (FRANCE), The Match Factory (GERMANY), GFF Geissendoerfer Film-und Fernsehproduktion KG (GERMANY), Eddie Saeta, S.A. (SPAIN)
with the participation of Fonds Sud Cinéma, Ministère de la culture et de la communication CNC, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et Européennes (FRANCE)
with the support of World Cinema Fund (GERMANY), The Hubert Bals Fund, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture (THAILAND)
in association with ZDF/Arte (GERMANY), Louverture Films (USA)
and with Haus der Kunst, Munich (GERMANY), FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) Liverpool (UK), Animate Projects, London (UK)
Boonmee Thanapat Saisaymar
Jen Jenjira Pongpas
Tong Sakda Kaewbuadee
Huay (Boonmee’s Wife) Natthakarn Aphaiwonk
Boonsong (Boonmee’s Son) Geerasak Kulhong
Roong (Jen’s friend in hotel) Kanokporn Thongaram
Jaai (Boonmee’s chief worker) Samud Kugasang
Princess Wallapa Mongkolprasert
Soldier Sumit Suebsee
Farmer Vien Pimdee
UK/ Thailand/ Germany/ France/ Spain 2010 113 minutes
35mm, 1:1.85, Colour, Dolby SRD, in Thai
Voted 2nd best film of the year in the Sight and Sound 2010 review of the year:
‘Uncle Boonmee uses film language we’ve encountered before, but assembles it in such a way that we have the sensation of stumbling upon a previously undiscovered and uncorrupted tongue.’
Ryan Gilbey (New Statesman) for Sight and Sound
‘Spellbinding, erotic and moving, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul continues to reinvent cinema’
David Thomson for Sight and Sound
‘Apitchatpong Weerasethakul’s breakthrough smash has the uncommon virtue of trusting its audience to furnish its own commentary and explanations – a virtue made possible by its magical realism.’
Jonathan Rosenbaum for Sight and Sound
‘A total wonderwork: - enchanting, bizarre…original.’
‘In great cinema, as in great music,you don’t always “get” the melodies or harmony at first go, but you want to come back for a second and third…RAPTUROUS…MIRACULOUS...By the close…you feel you have walkd into the heart of a rainbow’
Nigel Andrews, FINANCIAL TIMESRead the full review
Derek Malcolm, The Evening Standard
“Delicate and beguiling…this is A FILM THAT HAS TO BE SEEN.”
Nick James, SIGHT & SOUND
“Apichatpong’s Palme d’Or winner may count as the most
IDYLLIC PEACEABLE GHOST STORY YET FILMED”
“IF YOU STILL BELIEVE IN…THE CINEMA’S CAPACITY TO INSPIRE MAGIC AND WONDER, YOU NEED TO SEE THIS”
Mike McCahill, METRO
Kevin Mahler, THE TIMES
“The Thai arthouse sensation”
Tim Robey THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
It is one of those rare films that contribute to the sum of human happiness. It certainly increased the sum of my happiness”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN
It’s about nothing; it’s about everything. It’s sublime…’
Tara Brady, IRISH TIMES
‘MESMERISING Thai Palme d’Or winner…poetic view of sex, death and ghosts’
David Jenkins, TIME OUT
‘Dreams blur with real life in this sensual cinematic vision’
‘Rousseau…might have conjured up the balmy tropical dreamscape of UNCLE BOONMEE”
‘Thai writer-director collapses the division between human and animal, body and spirit past and future…this Palme d’Or-winning phantasmagoria’Ryan Gilbey, New Statesman
'Let this odd, mysterious film lap over you. Bathe in its beautiful images, enjoy the disorientation and stay open to possibility.'
Tom Charity, LoveFilm
"A hypnotic, sensual, rapturous dream of a movie"
Steve Rose talks to the Thai auteur
David Jenkins, Time Out
'More genuine magic and entrancing strangeness in its first half-hour than in all the Harry Potters combined...
A sensual experience, a haunting and immersing work that casts an emotional spell...there is a gathering and intoxicating sense of mystery about this film: I’d urge you all to surrender to it'
Edward Lawrenson, The Big Issue
'Magical realism? More magical magic. More an attempt to re-landscape the viewer’s own imagination.'
Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
‘An absolute masterpiece...A truly great film.’
‘(This year’s) big LFF buzz-film…it’s like nothing you’ll ever have seen before… ‘
'Right now (Apichatpong) has to be one of the most groundbreaking directors at work anywhere in the world…a talismanic figure for a certain kind of contemplative, exploratory, expanded cinema... Miraculous’
Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound
‘A piece of Eastern magic realism set in an old tamarind plantation in the jungle where Boonmee, an old farmer with failing kidneys, has come home to die. Each episode in the film is tinged with a different kind of cinematic style and the whole has a mysterious, hypnotic quality that’s difficult to forget. (Weerasethakul’s) most accessible fantasy yet.'
Derek Malcolm, The Evening Standard
‘Hypnotic and calming like a lucid dream’
“A complex and exotic portrait’
‘David Jenkins, Time Out
‘A gloriously worthy winner of the Palme d'Or... This is a visionary film in the director's characteristic style: mysterious, dreamlike, gentle, quiet, magical...with a spiritual quality I can't remember seeing in any film recently. Uncle Boonmee offers pleasure and heartbreak in equal measure.’
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
'A compassionate film that combines gentle comedy with fantasy and offers a transcendental vision of love...gently comic, strange, dream-like and deeply moving'
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
‘…A fabulous weave of magic… his most accessible and most enchanted film to date’
Sukhdev Sandhu, The Daily Telegraph
‘... A masterpiece... Sometimes it takes the breath away. By the close it has invaded your brain and heart and soul.’
Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
'Apichatpong Weerasethakul's eerie, beguiling new film scooped the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and has been described as "magical", "visionary" and "sublime"...Don't expect easy answers but prepare yourself for some arresting images, including a princess having sexual intercourse with a catfish, in this extraordinary, poetic picture.'
Ben Walsh, The Independent
'The film’s enchantment is at its most potent during a pilgrimage by Boonmee and his family to a cave high in the hills – the throbbing growl on the soundtrack creates a kind of aural architecture for the dying man’s gateway from this life to the next. It’s spine-tingling stuff. Directly afterwards we are returned to the mundane reality of life after Boonmee’s death – a place where prosaic funeral arrangements are discussed in featureless hotel rooms, and the ghosts have retreated to the forests. But by this time, the film’s spell has taken effect and its curious magic is evident everywhere from the saffron of a monk’s robes to the gaudy fairy lights of a low-rent karaoke bar.'
Wendy Ide, The Times
Interview in The Guardian during the Cannes Film Festival.