Last Life in the Universe

In Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s 2003 film Last Life in the Universe, the main character, Kenji, is a quiet Japanese librarian living in Thailand. He takes his librarianism very seriously and obsessively organizes everything in his life (the neatly stacked books pictured here are in his house — and actually look quite a bit like the neatly stacked books in my house….). His continual attempts to commit suicide are always interrupted at a critical moment, and one attempt brings him together with Noi, a Thai bar-girl whose sister is hit by a car on a bridge that Kenji is trying to jump off of. In an attempt to avoid certain problems in his life, Kenji stays with Noi in her isolated home for a few days. Lots of things happen under the surface, and librarianism in general is left behind as the movie comes to its inevitable conclusion, but I still think that librarians (and everyone really) will really enjoy the interplays between organization and chaos (both physical and emotional) that permeate this film.

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2 Responses to Last Life in the Universe

  1. LilyRose says:

    So, are librarians obsessively trying to control the chaos of life by being extremely organized and very neatly stacking books? And now I am looking up obsess in the good ol’ dictionary to make sure I didn’t miss a second double ‘s’…. I do hate to misspell things…

  2. Mimi says:

    Yes, I would say that librarians seek refuge from this crazy world in the beauty of systemized knowledge. I would also say that many librarians seek such refuge in lesser pursuits, such as self-reference, office politics, and pet ownership. ‘tevs. Last Life in the Universe does do this really well.

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