Researching 2 scenes from 2 different movies.
1# Analysing a scene from Uncle Boomnee (2010) or how I can recall his past lives
Directed by Apichatong WheeresatakulA Palme D’or winner at the 2010 Cannes film festival.
The film begins with a moaning cow tied up to a tree in the midst of a humid jungle in Thailand. It is now dusk and the cow has had enough , it wants to escape. The tone and visuals are dreamy and blurry. The Cow heads into the forest.
The Cow walks towards a river and notices something that scares and thus the cow runs away this presence that the cow has noticed is an ape like ghost with red shiny eyes
And thus we have the opening of what is a very strange film indeed. Now Uncle Boomnee is a non linear movie in it’s form of narrative , it is not a movie focused on multiple characters like Crash or Magnolia. It a foreign film about a man dying from kidney failure and heads back to his own hut with his family in the jungle. In the Tropical forest however contains our protagonist’s name is Boomnee played by Sakda Kaewbuadee and the ghosts from boomnee’s past are all quietly trotting , pacing and wondering around the jungle’s especially at night. It is on one hand a sad little warm story about death but on the other an Asian Disney bedtime story.
In the opening sequence of Apichatong Weerasethakul directed film the style and tone is monochrome. Since the film balances between the real and the surreal the opening is a primarily example. Since the film is about the ghosts of our main character living in the woods we are shown an entry of one the beings in the form of an animal discovering one the ghosts. The Audience doesn’t know what it is until we eventually find out later on in the movie.
With the colors of the sequence and the film itself. It is shot in a moody set piece at night time to provide it’s magical fantasy tone to the movie. All the jungle and the green involved representing healing, soothing, contentment, loyalty and a fulfilling peace. And Since our main character Boomnee is dying the film is about the peacefulness of death rather than suffering which is another reason why it’s set in the jungle. That is also another reason why we are feeling dazzled and enchanted rather than feared or scared in the bizarre opening sequence with the cow.
Other semiotics is the Cow . Why ? Because the cow represents a form of humour thus giving a sort of wry comedic sense to the entire film as it starts off with the black cow with horns. Then of course there is the ghost the cow encounters in the jungle. The ghost looks like a soldier dressed in camouflage with light red night vision goggles. Representing the mystery of the movie and what is about to come next the ghost also represents that the jungle in which the cow is running around in , isn’t a normal one.
In the opening sequence of the movie the props of the few shots are kept to a minimal. We Have a rope an minor Actor playing a farmer that we barely see dressed with jeans and is shirtless since it’s set in a humid and extremely hot weather. We get another character to pose on shot dressed up with a gorilla suit and added with leaves from the trees, then given some red goggles for the eyes.
And Finally there is the cow. The Crew had obviously asked an Thai animal company to hire a black cow with horns for a the weekend or something as the sequence was shot for around 2 to 4 nights.
The Locations in which the opening shot of Uncle Boomnee is in the Ratchaburi jungle in Thailand using 7 different spots on this location. The sequence was shot at night time seconds before total night or even in the very early hours of the morning
Uncle Boomnee’s opening and in Whole film itself works on a slow quirky deadpan style especially it’s characters there is no Voice over or a strongly cohesive storyline. The spirits involved are more ice cold than the latter but it’s slow pace proves that some of the characters have been stripped down to their emotions including The Boomnee character. The Cow dosen’t express too much in body language except when it gets lost in the jungle and then moo’s when it meets a ghost. The Ghost stays frozen and us the audience cannot see any expression on it’s face due to the shadows.
Where to begin to discuss gene in a film like Uncle Boonmee. Well it’s mainly a fantasy , it can be argues since it’s about ghosts ,it could be considered a Horror film. But the spirits are non violent. Instead they are a form mystical characters living in a jungle where the real humans cannot encounter. It’s Like Toy Story in the sense that the living cannot identify the fact that the Toys are alive. Whereas here the Thai farmers haven’t realised that their are spirits living in the jungle in a magical world of their own. It’s in fact relevant to the lost boys and Peter Pan. And yet all of these ghosts/Spirits used to living people who knew Uncle Boomnee . And as such the film is telling how Boomnee is on his way to the grave and will soon join the world of the jungle the characters are inhabiting. Their is a strange ending to the Film in which Boomnee’s Family encounter spirits of themselves in another room. But overall Uncle Boomnee is a quiet arthouse Thai Fantasy. With Drama being added thus becoming a sub genre.
Uncle Boomnee or how i can recall his past lives is definitely not the mainstream audiences. Those into Action , Total barbaric Anarchy and where or what can anything go boom, will go boom will not despise this. It’s for the most sophisticated audience and the most patient and those who understand film and love Fellini ,Lynch , Jodorowsky, Cronenberg , Park Chan-Wook or even John Waters will savour this one. Especially if they like atmosphere and ooozy coozy style and often enough style over substance or even Atmosphere over plot. Not for Everyone but Magical if you love weird have patience and True Cinema.
# 2 Analysing another scene from THX 1138 ( George Lucas’s First film 1971 )
THX 1138 has lots of similarites to Logan’s Run and The Island. It’s about a dystopian future in which Huma civilisation lives in a vast underground and freedom is outlawed in order to provide medication that controls humans emotions. one man coded THX 1138 stops taking the medications and awakens to a bleak reality. The only brightness is that he has is a fellow inmate in which they fall in love with each other. But Love is also illegal in this godforsaken world in which the technology control the living. The Authorities discover there romance and imprison them . Only THX 1138 manages to escape the jail and eventually flees the underworld that has taken the entire world and thus himself finds himself a source of freedom.
Such is in the images above the final sequence of the film.
Compared to the clichéd storyline we have heard in Logan’s Run, Brave New World and 1984 or later in Brazil , This film has rather an eerie appeal to it’s source. Not much is entirely explained . It’s Linear sure ( and more so than Uncle Boomnee) But there is a cryptic sense of sheer dread covering underneath it’s tone and scenario.
In the Final Sequence . THX 1138 has out run multiple Artificial intelligent guards and gets pursued by 2 more. He eventuall finds a ladder in a huge tunnel that resembles a parking lot.
He climbs up the ladder and the 2 guards do exactly the same and shouting out PLEASE COME BACK THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE. 1138 continues and so does the guards eventually. The Guards get a call from the radio saying return to base as the outside world is too dangerous. 1138 spots a bright light within the tunnel and carries on . The Guards cry for coming back this is your last chance and then decide to go down again. But for 1138 . ( Slightly intimidated) he carries on.
And eventually THX climbs out the immense hatch, finding sanctuary.
Unlike Brazil or 1984 .. This piece of Sci-Fi has a happy ending.
In the last sequence of the movie. There is nothing but concrete gray with a strong ambient score. We hear loud and clear footsteps being tapped as Robert Duvall’s character is being chased.
And as he climbs the ladder there is only a slow burning score that sounds like a emotional climax that suits the piece. Unlike Star Wars or American Graffiti, Thx is a slow linear piece with long moments during dialogue, every character like Uncle Boomnee have been stripped down to their emotions and THX himself evolves with incresing emotion , but yet again we are assuming this because every creature and body are icy cold to a near maximum degree.
Arguably the semiology of the ending is rather religious.
The Tunnels and hallways and the emptiness of it all with constant gray , black and white , it is clear that the humans are depressed and Duvall is Anxious.
By the end , as we spot the bright light , it represents an innocent from hell ( the Tunnels of darkness with endless black ) escaping to find Heaven. ( The bright light the audience and THX spots while climbing the ladder. ) as a form of escapism . As The Coir score comes into play it resonates the mutiple innocent humans living in hell. And that one has managed to find pure freedom as we spot the sunrise rising up for the morning . These images represent Beauty has finally killed the beast. As the film starts off in Darkness and hell ( Which most of the movie takes place. ) . It’s also an image of one man finding space and outdoor comfort after constant claustophobia and indoor disclosure.
Bonus : In one sequence of the film there is an image of Hans Memling , Christ Giving his Blessing. (1478) As a form of hope whilst our lead is in despair and having no choice but to take drastic measures for salvation.
The entire cast of the movie ( that includes women ) shaved their heads. So in the final sequence of the movie Robert Duvall had to have his hair clean shaved. All the Humans in the film wear a white
In the movie , most of the human cast wear a white suit with sandles , shirt and trousers. To add it’s chilling portrayal.
So When Robert Duvall climbs up the ladder he needs to be shaved and wearing the same white suit. As for the actors playing the robotic police. They needed Baton’s a police helmet , a black suit and a metal plate to cover their face as to mask themselves as the robots.
THX’s Final climb was filmed at Port Hueneme , California with a camera rotation to 90 degrees. The laddr was exposed reinforced bars on the floor of the tunnel as a ladder.
THX 1138 is a Science Fiction , clear and simple.
Too add secondary genres , It’s tone is so ice cold and the plot is increases to a mystery that it echoes thriller and arguably a little slice of horror. But THX falls in love witht one the characters named LUH 3417. The film has a romantic quality to it’s appeal and Dramatic tragedy.
But the fact it is set a future where humans are imprisoned to a system in which there is no escape. Again like 1984 and Brave New World balancing between Orwell and Huxley. It’s a Future … And a very bleak one indeed.
THX 1138 is for anyone who loves Science Fiction . Or even those who enjoy a good film. If slightly dated it has a few slow moments here and there. But that is arguably the whole point and George Lucas’s intention. ( Shame he made nothing else later on except for Star Wars )
It’s also for those deeply curious about George Lucas himself if they are heavy admirers. And for those who love futurisitic whitin Cyberpunk and even Steampunk fiction.
THX 1138 deals with characters stripped down to their emotions that everything they see or do ,act with a very deadpan style and react with a minimalistic impact. This is a very quiet film ,there is no easy way out every corner echoes with the machines working itself together and sometimes when there is complete silence we can slightly hear the wind of a tunnel .And nothing is at it seems which is also why the film is effective in that manner.
In this Week session there is once again a lot of confusion in what work needs to be done and given within the week despite the fact it is very interesting. We discover Editing ( My second time round since i did a slight test last year ) and we even went out and shot some scenes that i was not surprised on what title it was called ….. The Chase a 3rd time i have done some filming with that title.