A Letter to Uncle Boonmee
A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (2010)
Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
A glorious treat is being held over at The Auteurs this week; the unveiling of a new in evidently a proposed series of shorts by the Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul. And it’s yet another stunning piece of work.
Quickly becoming one of my personal favorite filmmakers, Weerasethakul crafts films from an incredibly personal place, but makes them as if by instinct purely, with little regard to cohesion or convention. This much is very clear upon first viewing of any of his works. However, rather than piecing together a mere series of images, his images ring true in an introspective and deeply psychological sense, as they tend to remind one of something fleeting they may have noticed before, but not necessarily like what is being seen. Weerasethakul is a filmmaker obsessed with memory, and lack of logic that hold memories together, as well as an inclination to explore space in both architecture and nature, finding threads between them as opposed to the dichotomy of what keeps them apart.
All of these themes come together once again in A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, a film that in 17 short minutes manages to evoke an entire family history through the essence of fleeting memories and images. The film begins with a narrator reciting the purpose of the film, his curiosity to explore the life of his uncle, and when the brief passage concludes, with the camera still exploring the contours of a home, another narrator begins again the repeating passage. It’s a feeling reminiscent of Resnais, exploring the possibilities of memory, the feeling that the neglected corners may be an even more important link than the obvious and easily recalled. Weerasethakul never leaves his camera sitting idle, asking so many questions but refusing to linger long enough to answer them, as in a moment of billowing smoke that drifts by as if nothing peculiar was happening.
Added to this is a soundtrack demanded to be heard through headphones, as its subtle nuances and found sounds wrap around your head like the graceful images being displayed. This is a majestic piece of speculative and abstract cinema, from a man who has yet to stop exploring the senses.
Here’s that link once again. It’s well worth the couple of bucks.