A beautiful, emotional film.
Jordan O'connor | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 03/31/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't go into the happenings of the film, nor will I declare various aspects of the film as being this way or that way - good bad, right wrong, etceteras. What I will say, simply and breathlessly, is that this film is so refreshing and beautiful; that it is the purity of an idea with the patience of a 1000-year-old mind and heart. That fact is, I couldn't tell you what this movie is about but emotionally I have been affected and I'm not even sure how yet. Perhaps it was my mood, perhaps if was the day and time I saw this movie, but this movie is truly wonderful. If you were looking for a comparison to this film I would say David Gordon Green's film 'George Washington' but this is a loose comparison.
In any case, this is a beautiful and emotional film. I highly recommend it."
Among the more striking cinematic debuts of recent times
David Alston | Chapel Hill, NC, USA | 09/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw MYSTERIOUS OBJECT AT NOON a few years ago, and eventually purchased the DVD, which has been subjected to many viewings. There nothing really quite like it.
Based around the surrealists' 'Exquisite Corpse' game, the film was assembled over 3 years from mostly improvised footage, with everyone involved a simultaneous actor/collaborator/creator of this grand experiment. The footage was then edited down to the final 85 minute running time.
The final results are only vaguely coherent, but that's not the point. Two usually contradictory things are going on here - one, an attempt at the autogeneration of folklore, and the other an audacious piece of experimental, edgy filmmaking - simply put, Weerasethakul has brought together an avant-garde, and a world of folk storytelling (including bits of the Thai folk epic The Ramakien) that would seem to rarely coexist, much less fluorish in the others' presence, which is precisely what happens in this magical excursion into dreamlike, non-narrative impressionism. Many themes that form the foundation of Weerasethakul's subsequent body of work emerge here: memory, improvisation, and life as a process of perpetual evolution, which is here linked with the specifics of the creative process.
In creating this, Weerasethakul has created something that I think is going to be heralded as some kind of classic - though not in the short run. I note that most reviews I've run across, even from normally intrepid critics, seem to be completely flustered by this one, and mildly hostile about it. So be it - the absolute obliteration of familiar divisions: between folk and avant, between fiction and documentary, between narrative and improvisation may take a little time to sink in.
Weerasethakul's regard for roots and his homeland deserves note as well - he very clearly loves Thailand, and this film, which traverses highly variable landscapes from urban to village, from coasts to mountains, from rich to poor, views and records both land and people with a genuine affection. Weerasethakul's parents were doctors, and this film, and his subsequent features also all feature brief clinic scenes, perhaps honoring his own parents in oblique fashion. These unassuming devices and subtle qualities give this bold and formally experimental film a tremedous warmth and depth, which is - more precisely - WHY I think this film will ultimately find it's place and recognition in cinematic history.