Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria” previewed at the Cannes Film Festival


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The highly anticipated world premiere screening of Memory, the new film by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and starring English actress Tilda Swinton, takes place this week at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Memoria (Image: Kick the Machine Films, Burning, Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions, ZDF / Arte et Piano, 2021)

In the afternoon of Thursday, July 15, the new film by famous Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul Memory will have its world premiere on the red carpet at the 74th edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. This gala screening, which takes place on the eve of the director’s 51st birthday, is creating a buzz among industry figures and moviegoers attending the festival.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Image: Kick the Machine)

The official debut of this film will take place at the festival’s Grand Théâtre Lumière, and is expected to be present, alongside director Apichatpong, the film’s star, Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, as well as other cast members Jeanne Balibar, Elkin Díaz, Juan Pablo Urrego and Daniel Giménez Cacho.

Memoria in Cannes
At Memory First screening director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (center) walks the red carpet flanked by the film’s main cast, (left to right) Juan Pablo Urrego, Tilda Swinton, Jeanne Balibar and Erk Diaz (Image: Cannes Film Festival)

In the film, Tilda plays a Scottish orchid grower in Colombia who finds himself unable to sleep after being surprised at dawn one morning by a loud and inexplicable “bang”. She later befriends an archaeologist who studies newly unearthed human remains, and becomes obsessed with a 6,000-year-old skull with a hole – in order to “free evil spirits,” the archaeologist. Together, the couple travel to the dig site, where a series of events suggest ancient memories now connect Jessica to everyone and everything around her.

Memory
Memoria (Image: Kick the Machine Films, Burning, Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions, ZDF / Arte et Piano, 2021)

Director Apichatpong has seen several of his films screened in Cannes, but perhaps the biggest impact was made when his film Uncle Boonmee who can remember his past lives received the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, making him the first Southeast Asian director to win this award. For Tilda Swinton, renowned film buff and longtime admirer of Apichatpong’s work, Uncle boonmee ranks among his all-time favorites. She describes it as: “Slow cinema in its most immersive, lateral and resonant form. It is possible to believe that you have dreamed of the Apichatpong movies after seeing them… they certainly take you to a place you have never been before on this earth.

Uncle boonmee
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives (2010)

Over the years, the actress and director have become close friends and, in fact, Apichatpong wrote the screenplay for Memory specifically with Tilda Swinton, as well as co-star Jeanne Balibar (who plays Agnes, the archaeologist), in the lead. This is the director’s first film to set outside of Thailand, and his first to employ such a high-caliber international distribution, with a script that combines a mix of English and Spanish dialogue.

Memory
Memoria (Image: Kick the Machine Films, Burning, Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions, ZDF / Arte et Piano, 2021)

When asked to work with such film luminaries, Apichatpong said, “I’m grateful to have seen Tilda and Jeanne search for Jessica and Agnes in their own way. Tilda was open to her transformation, like water, while Jeanne follows her feelings with each rehearsal and each take.

Tilda Swinton Memoria
Memoria (Image: Sandro Kopp © Kick the Machine Films, Burning, Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions, ZDF-Arte et Piano, 2021)

In addition to Memory, Apichatpong contributed a segment to the anthology film The year of the eternal storm, which is also screened in preview at Cannes 2021. As for Tilda Swinton, she appears this year in no less than five films, including that of director Wes Anderson The French dispatch, which received a nine-minute standing ovation on its premiere Monday night.

Watch the official trailer for Memory here:

(Hero and Featured Image: Kick the Machine Films)

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