Ever the weaver of mysterious, transcendent dramas that unfold across far-flung landscapes that stir awakenings in his protagonists, Apichatpong Weerasethakul returns with the long-awaited “Memoria.” This marks the Thai filmmaker’s English-language debut and his first pairing with Tilda Swinton. The film, which premieres July 15 at Cannes, will be released later this year in the United States by distributor Neon. An official trailer has been released in the meantime. Check it out below.
The drama is centered on a Scottish woman who, after hearing a strange banging sound at daybreak, begins to experience a bizarre sensory syndrome while she’s traveling through the jungles of Colombia.
Weerasethakul has remained comfortably outside of any studio system, making the films he wants to make, from the beautiful and beguiling queer love story “Tropical Malady” to the Cannes Palme d’Or-winning folk tale “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” But distribution from Neon could bring him to a wider audience after the Cannes Film Festival.
Filmed in the mountains of the municipality of Pijao and Bogotá, “Memoria” features Tilda Swinton “walking a lot, like a ghost,” Weerasethakul told La Tempestad last year. “I wrote this movie with her in mind knowing that she is an actress who needs no explanation. In fact, it was she who showed me this character. The experience was very significant and I really appreciate that.”
He also added that the experience of shooting in Colombia proved disorienting, and as the film is a co-production with Mexico, he’s next interested in filming in that country as well. “Here I played the role of a drifting ghost, absorbing movements, lights and sounds,” Weerasethakul said of working in Colombia. “I am aware of political memories, of course, but I am happy to witness what remains. The film is not presented as a political statement. There is no pressure to show the reality of Colombia because I don’t know it. Having no roots is the key here.”
“Memoria” was shot on film by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Weerasethakul’s longtime DP collaborator and most recently the cinematographer for Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” and “Call Me By Your Name.”