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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives / one sheet / USA


Poster Poster

This is one of those posters that you can’t quite believe the studio was willing to go ahead and print, but you’re very glad they did! The poster was designed and illustrated by the brilliant cartoonist Chris Ware, the man behind the sublime Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth graphic novel and other excellent creations such as Quimby the Mouse (one of his earliest charatcters).

In an article on the Vulture website, the artist says of the poster; “I wanted to get at both the transcendent solemnity of the film while keeping some sense of its loose, very unpretentious accessibility.” He also remarks,”This being a poster, however — and even worse, me not really being a designer — I realized it also had to be somewhat punchy and strange, so as to draw viewers in and pique their curiosity without, hopefully, insulting their intelligence.”

The intricate lettering, oblique imagery and brilliant use of colour is quintessential of Ware’s work and it’s a thrill to see it on such a big scale. I’ve read some complaints that it’s almost too difficult to read, but I think that’s part of its charm and it is infinitely more interesting than most of the bland photoshopped creations so prevalent today.

The film itself, as the title suggests, focuses on the reminiscences of Uncle Boonmee, a dying man who spends his final days recalling his previous lives with the ghost of his dead wife and his long lost son who has returned as a kind of ape creature with red eyes (as depicted on this poster). Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the film is based on a book that was written after a man named Boonmee approached Phra Sripariyattiweti, the abbot of a Buddhist temple in the director’s home town, claiming he could clearly remember his own previous lives while meditating. The abbot was so impressed with Boonmee’s ability that he published a book called A Man Who Can Recall His Past Lives in 1983.

Winning the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, it’s certainly not a film for everyone with slow meditative sequences and bizarre, often hallucinatory imagery, but it’s definitely worth a watch, particularly for fans of world cinema.

The original trailer is on YouTube.