Pen-Ek Ratanaruang

The Last Life in the Universe

Kenji is a librarian, living in clean house stacked with books. He has been attempting suicide for some time but something or the other always saves him or rather something always happens just before he is about to commit it. Then one day as he’s about to attempt another suicide, he witnesses an accident of a girl named Nid. He then lands up in the hospital, while helping her sister Noi, and then eventually at Noi’s home. And there begins a small friendship, which distracts Kenji from his habitual attempts of suicide as he ends up spending few days at Noi’s place.

Kenji is also obsessed with the story of The Last lizard, which is about a lizard who one day realizes that he is the last of his species left on earth. This is from where the tile of the movie comes from. Though it’s not mentioned explicitly but somewhere inside Kenji believes himself to be that lizard.


The most sublime thing about The Last Life in the Universe is its pace. Even when suicide almost is a daily chore, three people are killed just like that, fourth one dies in an accident, yet life is unhurried at best there. Things move as if in unison, even while they are moving towards opposite ends. While Kenji is a cleanliness freak, Noi’s place just has a look of abandonment. Kenji is Japanese and Noi a Thai, with none knowing more than a word or two of each other’s language. Even the English they speak is broken. Noi slowly turns into Nid and then back to Noi again. One scene Kenji is caught for murder that he did commit and the next we see him back to Noi in Japan. Things do move, but it’s all very calm and quite, it’s not even that there is an underlying stretch of restrain which may break everything if something is disturbed. It’s just like dripping in abandonment, something that someone may feel, if he’s the last life in the universe.