Cast: Tilda Swinton
Jury Prize, 2021 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2021 New York Film Festival
Apichatpong Weerasethakul has described the idea for MEMORIA as a confluence of two notions. Firstly, his experience with Exploding Head Syndrome—a rare affliction that cost the filmmaker years of uninterrupted sleep thanks to recurring “bangs,” likened to a rubber band snapping inside the skull. Secondly, a scenario he imagined in which Jessica Holland from Jacque Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie wakes up from a comatose state to find herself “in Bogotá, being drawn by a dream or a trauma that she doesn’t remember.”
Tilda Swinton plays Ericka, Apichatpong’s woman in Bogotá, chasing the source of the mysterious bang. Each character and environment she encounters leads her to another, taking us from a university to the deep forest. Reality as a coherent set of events gives way to a series of startling emotional discoveries, and time as typically experienced seems to expand and contract in equal measure. Finally, Ericka seems to reunite with her forgotten trauma in the least expected of places.
Meeting the grandeur of his Palme d’Or winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (SDAFF ‘10), and matched in beauty by the subsequent Cemetery of Splendour (SDAFF ‘17), Apichatpong reaffirms his status as one of our greatest living filmmakers with this miraculous feat of sculpted time.