In a spirit haunted primordial jungle a joyful man is quietly, harmlessly dying, though there is never less than a smile on his face.
The phases of his life play out before him. He is a farmer, a soldier, teller of myths, a husband, a father, an uncle. All these things quietly take their place in the narrative until the time when he must enter the underworld, to the place he was first born, and pass on, guided by those who love him, both living and dead.
As Boonmee reflects on his life, the arc of Thailand plays out as well. From contemplative agrarian past, through the time of fables, to the
war with the communist and on into the disaffected, modernist future where we see ourselves seeing ourselves seeing ourselves.
All told with a minimal amount of fuss and effects, sewn together with threads of human intimacy, small gestures, a little sly humor and an over all meditative, knowing, measured rhythm.
There was another movie out last year that claimed it was about dreams… an American film. It made a lot of money but felt false and
boisterous. Nothing about it felt like dreaming to me at all. This movie IS a dream. Everything about it feels like a dream. The difference
between the two is the difference between spectacle and ritual. Uncle Boonmee is ritualized cinema in its purest form, ancient in its wisdom and avant-garde in its execution.