Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back to Cannes and into a jungle cave with Apichatpong and Uncle Boonmee

Volcano ash or not, the Cannes Film Festival starts tomorrow with a Thai film in the main competition for the Palme d'Or -- Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึกชาติ, Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chaat) by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. It's his second appearance in the top tier at Cannes.

Past Lives is a drama about an old man suffering from kidney failure. He's gone to the countryside to die, surrounded by his loved ones. The film looks to bear many of the hallmarks of Apichatpong's past work. It was shot on 16mm, like his first feature, Mysterious Object at Noon, and has a mystical and spooky quality, like, well, like all of his films, as it heads into the jungle like Blissfully Yours (his first Cannes entry, winner of 2002's Un Certain Regard) and Tropical Malady (the jury prize winner in 2004's Palme d'Or competetion). But it's also different from his others, Apichatpong says, as it takes on a narrative form.

Now there's an official trailer, and you can see a bit of what he's talking about. It's posted on YouTube by Houdini Studio - the shingle of editor Lee Chatametikool. I've embedded the video below. Watch it and the woods may never look the same to you again.

There's plenty more to read about Cannes too.

Over at CNNGo Bangkok, I had a look at all the Thai films that have "officially" been at Cannes. There's been 12 so far.

And The Wall Street Journal had a recent piece, with detailed looks at all the Asian entries at Cannes. Bangkok-based reporter Jennifer Chen wrote about Boonmee. She got this quote about Apichatpong from a film expert:

Here's someone who seems to have come suddenly out of nowhere, and finally, he's the filmmaker we've been waiting for," says May Adadol Ingawanij, a lecturer on Thai film at the University of Westminster in London.

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