Thursday, September 2, 2010

Apichatpong-a-rama: French critics au contraire on Uncle Boonmee

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (ลุงบุญมีระลึก ชาติ, Lung Boonmee Raleuk Chat) has opened in France.

There it's known as Oncle Boonmee, celui qui se souvient de ses vies antérieures.

What's perhaps surprising is the critical reception this year's winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival is receiving.

The Guardian rounds up reviews from Parisian critics, who have turned on the film, dismissing it as "pointless, obscure and excruciatingly boring".

"I have seen it twice; I was bored twice," says Eric Libiot for L'Express. "Brings back memories of the worst films of the 1970s," writes Olivier Delcroix in La Figaro.

Le Monde and Libération are "lone voices" giving the movie positive reviews.

Reacting to the Guardian story, Brett Farmer, a Bangkok-based academic and media-studies researcher, points out on Facebook:

It sounds like they're hunting for a media story. Certain sectors of the French critical establishment are notorious for their parochialism and I suspect that much of the brouhaha stems from the fact that Boonmee won out over the French favourite, Des hommes and des dieux [Of Gods and Men] but, regardless, I take it as confirmation of cultural significance if a film is able to generate extreme responses, whether of adoration and rhapsody or loathing and puzzlement, it shows it is at least making an impression and provoking people to think.

The French trailer from Pyramide Distribution is at Daily Motion and embedded below.

Meanwhile across the pond in North America, Uncle Boonmee is generating serious buzz ahead of a round of film-festivals appearances that include New York, Toronto (where Apichatpong is a "maverick"), Vancouver and Chicago.

CBC has it listed among the "buzz films" at the Toronto International Film Festival.

And Uncle Boonmee makes the runners-up list on Row Three's Most Anticipated Films of 2010, with votes from Darren Hughes of Long Pauses, Girish Shambu of girish (check out Girish's thoughts about the commercialization of film festivals and the numerous comments the blog post generated) and Marc Saint-Cyr of Subtitle Literate, Row Three and J Film Pow-Wow.

Update: Wildgrounds says Uncle Boonmee is on 120 screens in France, with the distributor hoping for 140,000 punters to see the film.

Update 2: Here's an interview with Apichatpong at Les Inrocks.

1 comment:

  1. I wanna see it because it's a Thai film and has a cool title. I don't need much more to pique my interest!


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