Film-Philosophy with ‘Uncle Boonmee Who can Recall His Past Lives’

Analysis, appreciation, concept formation and film-philosophy.

6th & 7th May 2023_ONLINE
14:30 to 18:30 IST

with Deb Kamal Ganguly

Defying the standard tropes of filmic experience in terms of character, narrative progression, the experiences of the films primarily in the works of several important directors of New Asian cinema are situated upon a renewed approach of ‘poetic’ in terms of vision of cinematic praxis. This new configuration of ‘poetic’ is directed more towards the implosive moments of ‘silence and murmurs of the self’ in the palpable forms of becoming, not only for the characters and entities on the screen but for the engaged viewers as well. Through the engagement with these cinematic works, the sensory-cognitive faculty of experience of the viewers get cleansed through novelty of affects and temporalities, beyond the usual tropes of identification, familiarization, expectation, semantic and syntactic exercises towards formal, sociological, psychological or ideological underpinnings. These unique artefacts of cinematic creation are constantly hinting at transient sites of in-betweenness within domains and categories, both at the local and global paradigm.

Films of the most celebrated contemporary Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul have presented the equally enchanting and unsettling dimensions of the present-day reality grounded in the signatures of complex and mystic realms of maladies. One of Weerasethakul’s most significant cinematic offering Uncle Boonmee Who can Recall His Past Lives (114min, 2010), explores the limits of anthropocentric existence around the terminal days of a retired soldier turned farm-owner.

Weerasethakul imports several ‘unreal’ anthropomorphic beings, and trace the transformation of states of beings and their respective becomings in the cinematic space of ‘now’ and the temporal dimensions of ‘memory of past lives’. Most of these categories dwell into the twilight spectrum in between reality and imagination. Weerasethakul, using these intriguing cinematic entities and means, on one hand creates a film-philosophical discourse in terms of animistic dynamics of reality and ontological relations of categories, while on the other hand, almost like an archaeologist-anthropologist, he indicates to the blind spots of collective memory suggesting the troubling socio-political ground reality upon which the normative nomenclature of carefree present is situated.

Participants are welcome who might be interested in exciting experimental possibilities of filmic expressions of bringing the seemingly opposite categories and fusing those together like: realistic and fantastic, technological and mystic, secular and non-secular, sensuous and grotesque, specific and cliché, everydayness and transcendence, and placing the one within the core body of the other and vice versa – which finally might illuminate upon the relation of cinematic form and cinematic experience with Eastern philosophical/ontological systems.

In the session, sequences from the film will be shown and discussed in depth. Also reading material will be shared during the course. 

An alumnus from Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI), Kolkata, DebKamal Ganguly is an independent filmmaker, researcher and teacher of cinematic arts. He has taught for 08 years (2012-2020) and designed curriculum in Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune,  in the departments of Film Editing, Film Direction and Screen Studies; and as a guest faculty in National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, Flame University, Pune, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar. Ganguly’s works have been published under special curator-ship from Lowave, Paris; his video art featured in the exhibition ‘Indian Highway’ and showcased in galleries of various cities of Europe and Asia. His films done in the capacity of editor, script-writer and sound designer have been shown in competitive sections of various international festivals and received recognition, including ‘Tiger Award for Shorts’ in Rotterdam (IFFR 2007). Ganguly has presented papers in various international and national seminars and conferences on various themes related to cinema, Deleuze studies, visual art, interfaces of art practices, translation studies, collective memory, Bengal studies, Media studies, pedagogy of cinema, film editing as a discipline, immersive sound etc including CARA-CILECT conference in Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg (2018), CILECT conference in VGIK, Moscow (2019), Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater (2019). He is a participant of an international project for artistic research involving BRICS countries, being the coordinator for India (2018).

₹ 1000 – For Indian Participants
€ 25 – For International Participants
(We invite you to contribute over and above the baseline – voluntarily, if you wish)

Digital certificates of participation will be issued.

For queries, if any, please write to:
or call / message +91 9969879319 (whatsapp and telegram only)

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