Berlinale

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Synopsis
Uncle Boonmee is suffering from kidney failure. As an avid practitioner of Yoga, he is well aware of his body. He knows that he will die in 48 hours. He calls his distant relatives to take him back from hospital to die at home. There, they are greeted by the ghost of his deceased wife, who has re-appeared to take care of him. His lost son also returns from the jungle in an ape-like form. The son has mated with a creature known as a ‘monkey ghost’ and has lived in the trees with her for the past 15 years.
On the first night, Boonmee talks about his six past lives that he remembers. On a second night, while the ghost wife is doing his kidney dialysis, Boonmee has a sudden urge to visit a place she has mentioned. So the group takes a journey into the jungle at night. It is full of animals and spirits. They finally reach a cave on top of the hill. Boonmee realizes that this is the cave in which he was born in the first life that he can remember. Then he passes away, taking with him tales that span hundreds of years.

Director’s note
A few years ago I visited a temple near my home and a monk there gave me a little book called “A Man who Can Recall his Past Lives.” In it, the monk wrote about Boonmee, who could recall his multiple lives in the cities of the northeast. The book is an inspiration for this film and an installation, which, like my other films, focuses on memory. During this time when rapid annihilation processes of everything from species to cultures have become commonplace, it is important to simply remember.


World premiere
Cannes International Film Festival 2010, Competition

Theatrical release in Germany
September 30, 2010

Awards
Palme d'Or, Cannes Film Festival 2010

Rights sold to
Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Benelux, Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Baltic States, CIS, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Canada, USA, South America, Brazil, Mexico,Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia / New Zealand

Festivals (selection)
Cannes International Film Festival 2010
Sydney International Film Festival 2010
Munich International Film Festival 2010
Jerusalem International Film Festival 2010
Melbourne International Film Festival 2010
Sarajevo International Film Festival 2010
Toronto International Film Festival 2010
New York International Film Festival 2010
Sitges International Film Festival 2010
London International Film Festival 2010
Viennale 2010
São Paolo International Film Festival 2010
Tallinn Black Nights International Film Festival 2010
Tokyo Filmex 2010
Dubai International Film Festival 2010
Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2010

Thailand 2010
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Producers: Kick The Machine Films (Thailand), Illuminations Films (UK), The Match Factory (Germany)
World sales: The Match Factory (Germany)
German WCF partner: The Match Factory

Funded in the WCF jury meetings in October 2008 and in 2010
Production funding: 60,000 €
Distribution funding: 10,000 €