On Friday evening, I took my mother with me to see Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. I’m not sure what it was that drew me to this film – perhaps the unique, and lengthy, title; the fact that I can’t remember ever having seen a Thai film before; the idea of past lives, ghosts and fairy tale intersecting with real life; or all of the above.

The film blends reality and fantasy, as Boonmee meets with the ghost of his long-deceased wife, and his missing son – who has since mated with a Monkey Ghost and has himself become one of the fabled creatures.

One of the things that amazes and, I’ll admit, confuses me about global films, are their tendency to weave together threads of multiple stories within one film, while not necessarily linking them, or providing any sort of resolution whatsoever. Uncle Boonmee hits both of these, with somewhat disjointed inner tales interwoven into the larger story.

I think I was expecting this film to have a bit more of the fantastic incorporated – more ghosts, more fables, more creatures that go bump in the night. But nevertheless, it was a creative, moving film that I truly enjoyed. It’s a languid and quiet film that gently relates the last few days of Boonmee’s life and his unremarkable passing. As my first introduction to Thai film, it served as an excellent gateway.


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