Let’s go straight to the films starting with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and set in Thailand. This is the film that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes recently. Having seen the film and discussed it at large with the folk around me, there is one phrase that seems to sum up our reaction: “impenetrable bewilderment” – what the bloody hell was that about? I half wondered if it won the award for most inventive use of beastiality in a movie after watching a scene with a catfish having sex with a woman – that weirded me out just a wee bit. Not to mention a tribe of monkey ghosts running around looking like Chewbacca (as I think one reviewer commented) with red glowing eyes. Humour aside, this was still an interesting movie and I’ve been unable to get my head around it, all I can think is that I am missing substantial cultural cues. It’s ostensibly about a man, Boonmee, who is dying and is visited by ghosts of people from his past who have died. I sort of get the idea that it’s trying to convey a sense of buddhist transcendence…I think. While the film seems to follow a particular time line, there is a sense of it going back and forth along Boonmee’s timeline ie the history of his past lives, his current life, and his future lives. This being framed within the belief system of that region. I can’t write it off as a dud and as I dwell on it, I suspect there is even more that I’m missing. Mostly, it was beyond my comprehension.
The second movie of the night was much more straightforward, and attracted a different sort of crowd (similarly with the Banksy movie) and it’s interesting to observe the different tribes that turn up to see particular movies. This one was The Runaways, directed by Floria Sigismondi and is the story of the all girl band that rose to fame in the 70s. It’s primarily about the band and the 2 leads: Cherie Currie and Joan Jett. It’s a recreation, based on a book by Currie, of how they got together, and then spun out of control. The music was fun and it was an enjoyable romp and didn’t shy away from the negative aspects, though didn’t dwell too heavily either.