BBC Culture polled 177 film critics from around the world, with Thai director Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul among the big winners.
Three Thai films have been named among the greatest films of the 21st century, in a list announced yesterday. A poll by BBC Culture of 177 film critics from 36 countries aimed to find the best films from 2000 till now.
Top spot on the list goes to David Lynch's mesmerizing, if bewildering, Mulholland Drive (2001). But there's good news for local film buffs, with the appearance of three Thai films, all from acclaimed director Apichatpong "Joei" Weerasethakul (making him tied as the most popular director on the list).
Topping Apichatpong's entries is Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), which places at #37. The first ever Southeast Asian film to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival tells the story of Uncle Boonmee who lies on his deathbed beside the spirits of his dead wife and long-missing son, recalling the many adventures from his past lives.
Next at #52 is Tropical Malady (2004), a romantic psychological drama, which consists of two interwoven stories: the love affair of a soldier and a country boy, and a Thai folk-tale about a soldier encountering the spirit of a tiger shaman. It went on to win the Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, making it the first Thai film to win in the main competition.
Finally at #60 is Syndromes and a Century (2006), a tribute to the director's parents. Thailand's Board of Censors famously wouldn't let the film be screened commercially unless Apichatpong cut out four scenes. He refused to do so and agreed to a limited showing, but replaced those four scenes with a black screen in protest of censorship (something he has continually rallied against).
What do you make of BBC's list? Were any other Thai directors worthy of making the cut? What's Tree of Life doing at #7? Was Freelance robbed? Leave a comment on our Facebook.
And because everyone loves a list, you can check out which Apichatpong releases featured in our selection of 25 classic Thai films you must watch.
Apichatpong is currently the subject of a retrospective art exhibition at Chiang Mai's Maiiam museum.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
Tropical Malady (2004)
Syndromes and a Century (2006)