Synesthesia of senses through independent cinema

There is no doubt that independent cinema will always give something to talk about. MUBI is in charge of distributing and granting a streaming platform service with an extensive catalog of international independent cinema. This time it was time to see the movie of Memory, directed by the Thai director Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul.

He is currently 57 years old and lives in Bangkok Thailand.
Credits: Fahrenheit Magazine

The person in charge of bringing independent cinema to Thailand is Apichatpong. With a career of more than 20 years in the medium, being a screenwriter, director and producer, he has remained on the sidelines of the big production houses. Some of his works are:

  • Uncle Boonmee who remembers his past lives (2010)
  • Splendor Cemetery (2015)
  • tropical disease (2004)
  • Mysterious Object at noon (2000)

Thanks to his films, Apichatpong Weerasethankul has been the winner of the 2010 Palmes d’Or, a prize awarded to him at the Cannes International Film Festival for his film work: Uncle Boonmee who remembers his past lives. In the same way, Memories, the film that will be discussed below, was the winner of the Cannes Jury Prize in 2021.

Memories is the story of a woman named Jessica Holland of British origin, who lives in Bogotá, Colombia. After a series of sounds that leave her stunned, she begins to question her origin and her destiny trying to create a tangible answer from her unconscious. Likewise, her personal relationships are deformed as the sound is more frequent. So much is the concern to find the origin of the sound, that an answer is found in the Colombian jungle.

The way in which Jessica lives her day to day is questioning herself: who am I? Where do I come from? and where do I go? Her dreams captivate her reality in such a way that she is pressured to drop everything to find answers. This film was the director’s first work outside of his native country.

It premiered on July 15, 2021, at the Cannes Film Festival

The construction of a sound map that accompanies the wait in everyday life is the line of most of the scenes in the film. Magical metaphysical philosophical questions afflict the protagonist as she tries to live her day to day life in Bogotá. Likewise, everyday scenarios for Colombians are reflected that, together with the construction of ambient sound, create and build a slow-paced story that can make you relax or despair.

The creation of Jessica’s reality is altered by the sound itself, the meanings that she tries to grant with her interpretation are modified by common life in Colombia. There is no doubt that Apichatpong tried to create a sensorama of existential questioning of long image sequences in order to experience synesthesia.

This fantastic drama is definitely an exercise in meditation and questioning. The technique of joining images and sounds to distort and alter realities is very attractive. It is essential to take a look through Latin American Magical Realism to understand Memorias. The meta-fiction of this story starts from reality that is altered by surreal touches.

Colombia is different, it is changeable and mystical largely because of its jungle. It is the closest thing in reality to the director’s idea. The usual in Bogotá can be unreal for people from other parts of the world. Independent cinema will always be an option to get out of reality.

Tilda Swinton, actress playing Jessica, is also an executive producer.
Credits: Karen Kaissal

Title: Memory

Year: 2021

Country Colombia

Address: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Duration: 136 minutes

Photography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom

Music: Cesar Lopez

Cast: Tilda Swinton, Elkin Díaz, Jeanne Balibar, Constanza Gutiérrez, Juan Pablo Urrego, Daniel Giménez Cacho and Agnes Brekke.

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