Shot and set in Colombia, director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative rumination on memory and the human condition is anchored by Tilda Swinton’s enigmatic, otherworldly presence.
Visiting her sister in Bogota, Jessica (Tilda Swinton) is woken up by a loud bang, audible only to her. Restless and disoriented, she roams the city in search of an explanation for the mysterious sound, becoming immersed in the aural richness around her – whispers in a hospital room, sound effects playing in an editing studio, indiscreet noises from a city square. Despite being present throughout, Jessica’s motives remain opaque and her encounters enigmatic.
Shooting a feature outside Thailand for the first time, Weerasethakul continues to probe the unknowable. Drawing on the familiar themes of sleep, memory, past lives, verdant landscapes and dreams, Memoria retains its own enthralling logic as the filmmaker employs his status as an outsider in Colombia to further amplify the power of the impenetrable. The film’s commitment to sound allows us to follow Jessica to the threshold of personal and collective memory and provides a rare cinematic experience that will reverberate for a long time to come.