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Boonmee, dying of kidney failure, is visited on his rural tamarind farm by his sister and nephew. As Boonmee moves towards death, contemplating his karmic actions and spending time with the ghosts of his departed wife and child, the film ambiguously suggests his past lives in human and animal form. (Was Boonmee a princess, or possibly a catfish? A water buffalo? Does it really matter?). Boonmee treks through the jungle, a site of both past and future lives, recalling infinite possibilities of reincarnation. The deceptively simple storytelling unravels with humor toward the holy and reverence for the mundane, casting off the shackles of time. This Palme d’Or–winning classic is as electrifying today as it was when it first came stateside 10 years ago—it’s generous filmmaking that grows with you, reflecting your own past and future back to you.
Organized by Brittany Shaw, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film.