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Reviews of Cannes Film Festival winner

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Uncle Boonmee: "It's barely a film; more a floating world"

Mystical Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was this year's surprise winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This is what critics have said about it.


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 [Apichatpong Weerasethakul]'s work are quite so unbridled in their enthusiasm.

Read the full Time Out review


His casting of actors or roles (like a monk, a Burmese worker) from previous films in also a kind of reincarnation of the director's cinematic past lives.

The director's film language has always been experimental, intuitive and personal to the point of mystical (or mystifying to a mainstream non-Thai audience). By comparison, Uncle Boonmee employs less difficult cinema vocabulary.

Read the full Hollywood Reporter review


The film is a beautifully assembled affair, with certain scenes staged with painterly composure, and also increasingly moving as the subtle story develops.

Most memorable, though, are the animal ghosts - one of whom is Boonmee's long lost son - who emerge from the forest.

In a charming reference to old-fashioned horror movies, these ghosts are simply actors in cheap gorilla suits, replete with blazing red eyes to distract from the amusingly ordinariness of their costumes.

Read the full Screen Daily review


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.

Read the full Telegraph review


Animism, apparitions, out-of-body experiences, sex with a catfish - there's all that and more in Apichatpong Weerasethakul's wonderfully nutty Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

More readily accessible than his previous films in its dreamlike vignette structure, yet even more resistant to concrete interpretation, this latest deadpan enigma is unlikely to significantly broaden the singular Thai filmmaker's commercial following.

Read the full Variety review

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