Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is the slow and mesmerizingly hypnotic Thai tale of villager Boonmee, who, together with various kindly ghosts and spirits, recalls his previous incarnations to try to understand why he is dying. It’s thus quite bizarre, other-worldly (the scene with the catfish is pretty disturbing) and even musical in the gentleness of it’s cadence, but it’s also at the same time completely matter-of-fact. In fact there’s absolutely no point trying to explain it, you’ve kind of just got to sit through it. But sit through it with an open mind.
Uncle Boonmee is all set in and around the Isan region in Thailand’s northeast, and in particular the village of Nabua in Nakhon Phanom, near the border to Laos.