While operating on an otherworldly metaphysical level in terms of storytelling and imagery and belonging to two radically different socio- and chrono-political contexts, this week’s both core films are embedded in fierce political engagement of their directors. In Baumgartel (2012), Weerasethakul himself claims that his film is “not a personal story” as his “interests have shifted, because of what is going on in this country” (p. 184). This is the first out of the two questions shaping this one-page paper:
1. What was the political situation in Thailand (and Laos) that the filmmaker responded so vehemently against? How does it manifest itself in the film?
The second question potentially concerns a wide array of scenes to choose from. This might be an inaccurate prediction, but I do guess that some of you will find Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Hist Past Lives to be a chore: it’s slow and meticulous, it reads like a fantasy but is, at the same time, closely set in a real-life political context. It is a lesson in patience, which, however frustrating, could also actually be a rare occasion for you to experience such a time-based film-watching experience.
2. Choose one scene from the film that does not feature the title character. What story does it tell? How is the story told? How do you understand the story and what makes you think so? How does the story relate to the main plot (and, also, what IS the main plot about?)? Don’t be satisfied with readymade and glib answers. Watch the scene closely and pay attention to details.
Format: one page, Times New Roman, 10, single-spaced.