Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cannes 2010: Joei hits red carpet for Uncle Boonmee premiere

Apichatpong Weerasethakul hit the red carpet at the Lumière Cinema in Cannes last night for the world premiere of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึก ชาติ, Lung Boonmee Raleuk Chat).

With actress Wallapa Mongolprasert on his arm, Joei (or Joe as he's known in West) cut a dashing figure in a white tuxedo jacket and black trousers. The actress, who stars in Uncle Boonmee was dressed in, a strapless, floor length evening gown. I guess you call it lavender? Anyway, she looked nice too and was obviously thrilled to be there.

Continuing from my earlier round of updates about the film, more reviews and reactions are pouring in, tipping the Palme d'Or competition entry for a possible award on Sunday night.

France 24 reports:

A late-competition dark horse emerged Friday with Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives ... Weerasethakul's new film is, like his previous Cannes entry Tropical Malady (which took home the third-place Jury Prize in 2004), a work of voluptuous imagination and teasing humour. Uncle Boonmee infuses its examination of love, loss and spirituality with strong supernatural currents as well as cheeky, vaguely Lynchian touches of horror and science fiction.

The Telegraph's Sukhdev Sandhu:

At last, in what has been a rather tepid Competition year at Cannes, a film to inspire: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives ... is a fabulous weave of magic. It’s barely a film; more a floating world. To watch it is to feel many things – balmed, seduced, amused, mystified. It’s to feel that one is encountering a distinctive metaphysics far removed from that on display in most contemporary cinema. Weerasethakul has not only drawn on the themes, landscapes and mood-states he tapped in Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady and Syndromes and a Century, films that extended the imaginative and emotional grammar of arthouse cinema over the last decade; he has refined them to create his most accessible and most enchanted film to date.

TimeOut's Geoff Andrew takes it down a notch:

Many sequences have a brooding lyrical beauty, the film’s rhythms are at once elastic and mesmerising, and the narrative features disconcerting shifts that may mystify viewers unfamiliar with his earlier work. But at the same time one does perhaps wonder why so many admirers of Joe’s work are quite so unbridled in their enthusiasm. I myself see no reason to be any more indulgent towards a Buddhist belief in reincarnation than I am towards similar Western superstitions, so my interest in monkey ghosts and talking catfish is constrained by my feelings that such characters are simply implausible, especially when the former – black hairy things with gleaming red eyes – look as if they’ve strayed in from a Star Wars picture.

The talking catfish has Digital Spy's Simon Reynolds in a mood. He uses words like "beguiling, frequently baffling and frustrating", "slow-moving and lethargic" and "challenging watch".

Meanwhile, there is negative press for Thailand, from statements made by the director during the press conference, in which he slammed the Thai government's censorship of films and reflected on the deadly political violence of the past week in Bangkok. AFP quotes him as saying: "Thailand is a violent country. It's controlled by a group of mafia."

Reuters has more, with Apichatpong reflecting on the unpredictability of the situation and the fact He said:

I hope for the best. Personally I think this kind of thing was bound to happen because of the gap between the poor and underprivileged and the rich. Our governments, present and past have been such a mess."

There's also a round-up at Awards Daily.

(Reuters photo via Yahoo! News)

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