24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous | 24 Frames Home | Next »

Palme d'Or winner 'Uncle Boonmee' heads to the U.S.

July 6, 2010 | 11:39 am

Boon

Palme d'Or winners don't have a huge track record here in the States -- the occasional Michael Moore entry aside, they usually earn in the vicinity of $4 million ("The Class"), or $1 million ("4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days").

But then, $4 million would hardly be a bad result for "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s quirky Palme d'Or winner from this year, about a country man who has visions as he lies on his deathbed (putting it reductively). Strand Releasing has just acquired domestic rights to the film and will bring to the U.S. next spring, and a few million dollars in box office would mean several hundred thousand people will have come to see the film, which is a lot more than we would have expected when the film played Cannes in May.

Strand released several of Weerasethakul’s previous movies, including "Syndromes and a Century," to very minimal commercial effect. And although this film is more accessible than some of his earlier work, it has a less marketable conceit than some of the previous Palme winners. Strand, God bless it, may nonetheless be in a tough spot to push it; one could have imagined another distributor coming in and spending (marginally) more money.

Of course, the way things go these days, foreign auteurs get exposure in the U.S. in a different way, getting snapped up by studios looking to bring a touch of class to their otherwise generic projects. One can only imagine what a set that had studio executives hashing out their desires with Weerasethakul might look like. If nothing else, that would be an award-winning drama in its own right.

-- Steven Zeitchik
twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: A scene from "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives." Credit: Cannes Film Festival

RECENT AND RELATED:

Thai upstart Uncle Boonmee takes Palme d'Or at Cannes

America braces for an auteur attack

Cannes 2010: Addition by subtraction and the final sum



Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.

 
Comments () | Archives (2)

The comments to this entry are closed.

The problem is that while the Cannes committee rewards cinema, U.S. goers reward movies.

The great thing about LA, though, is that it is home to a large Thai immigrant population. I know many young Thais (including myself) who would love to see 'Uncle Boonmee' as a point of cultural pride and to encourage the burgeoning film industry in Thailand.

While Thai cinema has mostly tried to emulate Hong Kong and Korean action movies, there is definitely a growing niche for arthouse features.

So where is it actually showing? Do I have to go hit up ImaginAsian or the Laemmle? Or wait for an Asian film festival to come to town?


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video







Categories


Archives
 



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: