"Memory" by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

In Thailand's film industry, horror movies stand out and have a significant influence not only in Asia but also on a global scale. However, in the realm of independent filmmakers, Thailand has its own "Fellini" in the form of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.


Apichatpong Weerasethakul has single-handedly elevated Thai cinema to the realm of world art films. His film "Tropical Malady" won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, while "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" and "Cemetery of Splendor" introduced the world to the enchanting and exotic nature of Thai cinema.


Apichatpong, growing up in the countryside, may have found inspiration for the use of natural elements such as jungles in his films from his childhood memories. As an adult, he studied film at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States. The theme of wandering loneliness is often present in films by authors and directors who have experienced life abroad, including Apichatpong.


"Memory," one of his representative works, was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, and it's easy to understand why Cannes favored this film. Its exploration of the subconscious, fascination with illusions, and questioning of coincidences are subjects beloved by the French, the capital of film art, and by masters like Ingmar Bergman. Moreover, the film stars Tilda Swinton, who is adored by film enthusiasts worldwide.


As a British actress, Tilda may not be the most beautiful, but she is definitely the most unique in terms of temperament. Coming from a noble background, with her golden hair and indistinguishable and deep features, she exudes a strong aura and a sense of mystery.


In "Constantine," she played the angel Gabriel, exuding a divine presence in the clouds. In "Doctor Strange," she portrayed the Ancient One, and with her bald appearance, it became difficult to discern her gender, while her eyes were filled with confidence in controlling everything. In "Only Lovers Left Alive," she transformed into a vampire who had lived for centuries, captivating and elusive.


Tilda's unique temperament complements the adventurous nature of the film "Memory." Set in South America, this region full of exoticism has also nurtured literary figures like Jorge Luis Borges, who revered dreams. Similarly, in this film, the story begins at a moment when dreams and reality blur.


In a dim long shot, Jessica, played by Tilda, is awakened by a loud noise whose source is unknown. Unable to fall back asleep, she adjusts her breathing by the window. In the next scene, cars in the parking lot start honking in the dim blue light, and the atmosphere becomes eerily strange.


But this is not Jessica's first encounter with the loud noise; she has been tormented by it, which only she can hear, recently. Her once tranquil life starts to lead her to explore and introspect in search of the source of the noise.


Jessica is a botanist who visits Bogota to visit her ailing sister. In her quest to find the origin of the sound, she befriends a local sound mixer, Hollis, and tries to recreate the sound through his sound design. However, despite several attempts, they fail to replicate the sound that Jessica remembers.

Afterward, she begins to witness more unexplainable phenomena. Apichatpong employs unique filming techniques that make Jessica wander between various reflections of light and shadows, appearing both mechanical and soul-searching. To make things stranger, Hollis suddenly disappears, and people around her claim that this person never existed.


This setup reminds one of Ryusuke Hamaguchi's film "Asako I & II," where a person suddenly disappears, not because they are dead, but because they go missing. Memories of that person persist, but when memories fail to correspond with reality, the authenticity becomes uncertain, and memories begin to feel like illusions. When Jessica visits an archaeological site in a small town, she unexpectedly encounters an older version of Hollis. Besides, they can even share each other's memories by a creek.


In the scene by the creek, Apichatpong's use of mirror language is exquisite. Hollis, now in his middle age, falls asleep, but his open eyes lack any signs of life. When Jessica tries to call his name, the sound of cicadas suddenly intensifies. Everything feels like being in a dream, with life and death intertwined, and the soundscape in chaos.


Although the title is "Memory," Apichatpong evidently does not focus on exploring objective reality or reconstructing collective memories. Instead, he sets his sights on individual memories tinged with mysticism. In a montage sequence of Jessica's thoughts, Spanish and indigenous languages appear, inviting speculation on references to South American colonial history and its traumas. However, these memories unexpectedly emerge in the mind of a white person in a foreign land, disrupting viewers' definition of memory.


While the film incorporates elements of mystery and science fiction, it is far from being an ordinary suspense or sci-fi movie. Through an abundance of long static shots and slow character movements, Apichatpong fills the narrative gaps with supernatural and inexplicable phenomena. It's precisely through this approach that the film becomes dreamlike and surreal.


Watching "Memory" is like embarking on a meditative experience, immersing oneself in a consciousness centered around imagery. With tranquil and reflective long shots, the film takes viewers on a therapeutic journey through memory.


สร้างเวลา:2024-01-16 17:50