Friday, March 04, 2011

"creating an alternate universe"

"Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" is a one-of-a-kind mixture of the extraordinary and the everyday. It's a sensory experience that makes its own rules, a dreamy meditation on what is real and what is not. When director Apichatpong Weerasethakul says "Cinema is a man's way to create an alternate universe," he is not kidding.

Weerasethakul, a native of Thailand who tells language-challenged Westerners to call him Joe, makes films that confound and delight. "Uncle Boonmee" is straightforward enough to have won the Palme d'Or at Cannes last year, but it is still deeply unconventional, a film whose meaning and structure are often tantalizingly just outside our reach.

Yet even though the film offers little in the way of old-fashioned plot, we hang on every image. We don't want to miss a moment, even if we'd be hard-pressed to explain or even understand what we've seen. For in Weerasethakul's reflective, contemplative cinema, what happens is not as important as what we're made to feel.

(excerpts from a review by Kenneth Turan)

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