“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”

Uncle Boomee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” -directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. 2010.

The opening of the movie calms the viewer. The moving camera rolls over a still night scene stopping at a wrap around porch. The scene is serene and almost meditative. All you can hear are the sounds of crickets. The scene shows a family sitting around a table eating. The Thai family sits peacefully, eating their food.

The pace of the short film moves very slow. The shots slowly pan over the characters, usually not showing the face of speaker. Each family member speaks slow and calm.

Slowly, a pixelated person appears at the table. The family at the table reacted slowly and silently. They were more astonished then scared. We learn she is the sister of that older woman at the table. Usually in scenes that the director wants the viewer to be scared, the viewer sees a fast-paced series of  screen shots, accompanied  by intense music. Instead, this film used almost no music, yet it had almost the same effect on its audience. It also added a creepiness to the scene.

The boy at the table gets up when he sees the woman appear at the table. Then he sits back down, turns to her, and gives the sister the biggest grin. This is the only part in the film that the viewer get to take a breath and smile inwardly.

Next, a large black hairy beast with red eyes slowly comes up the stairs. Again, the family reacts slowly to the hairy beast, never making sudden movements or loud exclamations. He identifies himself as the son of the older woman at the table. He tells his story of how he became a beast. The viewer sees a montage of  clips of how he became a beast.

The director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul has a unique and unconventional directing style. He uses light and nature shots at unique spots. He also uses unique camera angles and music choices to mesmerize his audience. Overall, the film is slow paced, yet captivating.

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