Mysterious Object at Noon (2000)

mysterious object at noon poster 2000
7.0 Overall Score

Interesting experiment

Don't expect anything but an experiment

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Mysterious Object at Noon

Studio:  9/6 Cinema Factory

Genre(s):   Documentary

Release Date(s):  October 2, 2000 (Vancouver International Film Festival)

MPAA Rating:   Not Rated

mysterious object at noon ball boy criterion

That is one mysterious object…hey, it’s noon!

A round ball shaped object rolls from the dress of a young boy’s collapsed teacher…and turns into a little boy. The story begins and as the story begins to grow and change, a film crew takes the story around Thailand and the story grows to involve a doppelganger, an alien, singers, a killer tiger, and a tiger witch. The story’s only limit is the mind, and the story is growing.

Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Mysterious Object at Noon (ดอกฟ้าในมือมาร or Dokfa nai meuman which translates as Heavenly Flower in Devil’s Hand) is an experimental Thai film. The movie received positive responses from international critics and was the subject of a restoration by Austrian Film Museum and The Film Foundation. The Criterion Collection released the remastered version as part of the Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project #2 (Criterion #875).

mysterious object at noon play criterion

Presenting the star ball boy!

It is always kind of refreshing to see something entirely new. World cinema often offers that so Mysterious Object at Noon seems like it is the perfect fit for something both new and able to expose viewers to a different life. In a world of remakes and copycats, Mysterious Object at Noon definitely doesn’t fall into either category, but you can also question what the movie is about and its goal.

The film is an oddity in general. It has aspects of a documentary. Sometimes people are telling their own personal stories and sometimes they are adding to the story of the “mysterious object”. It isn’t always logical, and it isn’t always perfect storytelling, but it also isn’t meant to be perfect. It also feels like it just ends. This does make sense with the storytelling technique, but it doesn’t always make for fulfilling watching.

mysterious object at noon school children

Ok…Tiger Witches? The narrative of the story is gone…go back to the magical ball boy

The storytelling is an example of exquisite corpse (or cadaver exquis from the French surrealists who developed it) where a story or picture is told or illustrated by a person and the next person picks up the tale or picture and adds to it. In this film this leads to flashback and “go backs” where the tellers try to rewrite aspects of the story…this especially is seen first hand at the end where the children keep changing the story they just told to “fix it”…that alien kid seems dangerous.

The visuals for the movie are pretty choppy. The film is in black-and-white and features the storytellers sometimes acting out the story, sequences where the story is recreated, and other parts where the story is just told (even through sign language). It is interesting to see how it unfolds.

I can’t say that Mysterious Object at Noon is for everyone or that many people will even like it when they view it. It is a different way to dive into cinema and storytelling. It is kind of a back to basics view of documentary and movie making with the concerns about cohesion and flow completely tossed and what happens as a result. It is worth checking out at least for a while, but don’t expect an intense conclusion to what the mysterious object is…nor do you really need one.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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