CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR
Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Official Selection, 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2015 Toronto International Film Festival
Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s great CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR dances between memories and waking states, as if the narrative itself was perpetually moving in and out of a dream. Fittingly, most of this stunning film takes place in a hospital where the patients are all soldiers locked in slumber, illuminated by a grove of effervescent green neon lights. There’s government-sanctioned construction going on outside, but the buzzing sound of bulldozers rarely causes a disturbance. This is peace on Earth. When one of the men does wake up, his encounters with a nurse send CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR even further into the realm of ghosts and spirits, a place more closely aligned with our world than anyone might think.
Apichatpong (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, SDAFF ’10) shows powerful humility toward characters wrapped in dialogue with supernatural beings. There’s no sense of fear in CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR, but an intoxicating free will that is enveloped by the flexibility of a given moment and spoken word. Such an experience transcends the concerns of individuals, and powerfully imagines coexistence in an ever-shrinking world where the living and the dead no longer fear each other’s presence. –Glenn Heath