By Sofia Jesus

And now for something completely different — strange; poetic; mystic; surreal: a magical journey with Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

In a week when the Thai director is once again in Lisbon for a cinema cycle featuring some of his works, as well as other films selected by him, I decided to finally discover his work.

I could have started by one of his latest works — such as Cemetery of Splendour — but I was too curious to see Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), the film that won the Palm d’Or at Cannes Film Festival in 2010.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, starts with a fairylike scenery in a black and neon-blue composition that makes you wonder if moonlight spilled all over the screen.

The night-time sounds of mother nature — the master soundtrack of the film — drag you deeper into the director’s magical kingdom — inhabited by strange creatures — and the story of a dying man and the ghosts that keep him company in his last hours.

The plot — I find it kind of difficult to call it that — feels secondary in this art composition, a tribute to light and shadow, or to sound and movement, as in the funeral of Uncle Boonmee, where decorative lights go on and off as ceiling fans rotate frenetically to the chanting of the monks.

In Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, there are omnipresent characters and the line between what is real and what is not is thin, very thin. But the director’s dreamlike world is beautiful to contemplate, if not to grasp.


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul