The soul is right up there with death, light and darkness as one of the deepest symbols of art. Uncle Boonmee, who can remember his past lives and The lighthouse are two films with unique approaches to existence, in which the soul is used as an indirect symbol. The motifs of repetition show how experiences can develop or develop a soul and help it learn from everything that life has to teach.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives (2010) – Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Boonmee lives with his sister-in-law Jen and his nephew Tong on a farm in northern Thailand. Boonmee dies of kidney disease. In his final weeks, his wife Huay's spirit returns to comfort him and offer Jen emotional support. His long missing son Boonsong returns as a black creature with red eyes. He tells the family that he mated with a monkey spirit and forgot the ways in which he came from the world that are now thriving in the jungle and apparently on other levels of existence. When Boonmee feels that death is near, he regrets how he lived his life and wonders if his illness is the result of karma. We can see parts of his past life, like the time when he was a vain princess who was in love with the reflection of her younger days, interspersed with his repeated kidney treatments. Boonmee also examines a dream of a future city and the future importance of authority. Boonmee cannot remember if he was born in a cave that Huay later leads him to, but finds comfort in everything that life after death will bring. After Boonmee's funeral, Tong and Jen go out to eat, and Tong is disturbed by the sight of himself, Jen, and a family friend sitting in a hotel room.
The Lighthouse (2020) – Dir. Robert Eggers
In the late 1890s, Ephraim Winslow and Thomas Wake were the "Wickies" tasked with manning a lighthouse off the coast of New England. Wake is a grumpy, old, experienced sailor, and Winslow is a young lumberjack who wanted to pay better for work off the coast. The two men live in a confined space and do not understand each other. Winslow does all the manual work, and Wake owns the night shift so he can occupy the lighthouse on his own. However, Winslow discovers that Wake communicates with the light up there, and what may be a sea monster with a tentacle. The men finally get to know each other, although Wake is relentless with Winslow. One day Winslow kills a seagull, which Wake warns as bad luck, since a seagull is considered the reborn soul of a sailor. Not long after, a wild storm prevented the men from being picked up from the island, and all they have to consume in the foreseeable future is denatured alcohol. When drunkenness and fighting take up time together, Winslow suddenly makes a confession: his name is actually Thomas Howard, and he didn't take this job to get paid better. He took it because he killed a man the last time he worked, because he kept insulting him. Winslow is constantly losing touch with reality and wants to know what is in the light that protects Wake so hard and ends up killing old Wickie. When Winslow comes to light, he screams delightedly and falls down the spiral steps. He is later eaten by seagulls.
Also known as the Anima, the soul is the essence of a living being. It defines the spiritual and metaphysical existence and establishes a connection to God, nature, the earth and all places behind it. The value and judgment of a soul in (most) religions as in art depends on the sum of the experiences of a soul and on what has happened through them.
in the BoonmeeThe soul absorbs experience like ink and carries its lessons and passions from one life to the next.
Responsibility, care and a sense of responsibility play a big role here, and the characters always think or speak about how they relate to each other or to the world as a whole. They understand that their role in life is linked not only to the now, but also to the past and the future. The transformation and transcendence in the main narrative and other stories is not repulsive. it shows that the enduring nature of the soul can take many forms and impart many layers of knowledge. The more you experience as an animal, tree, human, etc., the better the soul becomes. These are the cycles and consequences that show a kind of joy in having a soul.
On the downside, The lighthouse shows the burden of the soul.
There are tons of audience theories and semi-mysterious interviews with Robert Eggers about the film's intent. Her humble blogger will stand by her own interpretation: this film is about a soul in purgatory. In the opening sceneThe boat falls away from Wake and Winslow and then disappears in a thick fog, similar to a disappearance in another dimension. The two men look into the distance – but in a way, more into the camera – than if they were presented for assessment. There is a feeling in dialogue and in several sequences throughout the film that we are not looking at two men, but two sides of the same man.
Winslow wrestles with the guilt that drove him to murder and keeps hoping for redemption (there is a crazy number of shots looking up) while doing things that keep him in a downward spiral. These are the irresistible temptations that his ego does not seem to overcome, which his soul holds in purgatory. He is mocked by the seagull until he kills her, attracted to a mermaid until he has sex with it, is obsessed with the mystery of light until he kills for it. He wants to be good, follow the rules and forget, but he can't help himself.
Thomas Wake is Winslow 's teacher, tormentor, father figure, archetypal housewife, herald, sailor and judge – voices in Winslow' s head that get him to do his daily work, but with the idea of a pure, if unreachable source of pleasure and torment the rest (the light / redemption). By revealing his real name as Thomas, Winslow becomes an imperative game: "Thomas, wake up!" He not only has to confess what he did, but also free himself from guilt; A challenge that he fails with the murder of old Wickie.
The aspect ratio in which the film was shot was designed so that the viewer feels trapped and claustrophobic throughout. Applied to the argument that this film is about the damnation of the soul, the depressing feeling of the film reminds that Winslow / Wake is stuck with itself. He cannot get away from everything he has done.
When he finally reaches the light and looks into it – and not just back into it, but also into the camera – his oil-covered face looks as if it were covered with mud or blood. This has links to Fall of Man – Man is something that was born from the earth, reborn and shouts that the ordeal of his experience is not over yet and must be repeated without access to his proverbial heaven. Does he cry out of disappointment? Is it that the higher power of light rejects and throws it back to start over? Will he be one of the seagulls that eat his body?
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About Celeste Ramos
Celeste Ramos is a raindance member and author of fiction, short film and poems from New York City. She lives in London and studies symbology and art between watching films.