Flashback: Last Life in the Universe


The closest thing to entering a dream state at the movies right now is watching «Last Life in the Universe,» the fourth feature from Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. The rhythms of the film are so lulling (which is not a synonym for boring) that when Pen-Ek pulled the Buñuelian trick of substituting one actress for another in the midst of a scene, it took me a minute to register the switch.

What’s on screen is seamless — the muted palette that master cinematographer Christopher Doyle employs, the unobtrusive precision of his framing (a shot of a rose and an extension lamp suggests the sort of still-life Pierre Bonnard might have done had he been forced to live in the age of modernist, minimalist design), the wave-lapping shifts of Patamanadda Yukol’s editing, the barely there score, by Small Room and Hualongpong Riddim, that feels as if it were drifting in from an open window. Walking into «Last Life in the Universe» off the hot summer streets, you enter a relaxed, alert state.

Salon.com ved Charles Taylor anmelder Last Life in the Universe i 2004.