The film, one could say, begins with a strong blow. The quiet night scene is interrupted by a huge bang. Metallic, unpleasant, piercing from the inside, but so specific that it becomes fascinating in a way. The sound haunts Jessica (played by Tilda Swinton) – appears most often when she is lying in bed. She is awakened from sleep by the sudden hitting of decibels in her head. The protagonist begins to wonder about the source of the sound. Do others hear it too? Or maybe she is crazy? Asian director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, he begins his story by scaring the viewer. Tearing him out of the cinema chair and arousing him, because the journey through Colombia will be melancholic, subtle in its poetics and focused on the heroine’s search for answers.
Oneiric nature Memoria works on two levels – the protagonist is dreaming, while the viewers are also put to the test in order not to fall into dreams during the screening. Weerasethakul’s film is, to some extent, slow cinema wrapped in attraction, because we have a mysterious sound and an attempt to solve the mystery of its origin. However, regardless of associations with a crime fiction, Memoria it is a transcendental story, hypnotizing to some extent, but at the same time requiring concentration. It’s definitely better to experience this film while refreshed. Then it will be possible to understand the director’s reflections.
The structure of Jessica’s search for sound pushes the viewer towards the crime story. The woman enters the recording studio, sits in front of the console at the side of a young sound engineer and tries to recreate the sound from her head. In interviews, the director explained that it is an exploding head syndrome – the patient suffers from sensory discharges that resemble an explosion. Weerasethakul himself suffered from this a few years ago, and now he has transformed his experiences into an extraordinary film about constant search. It seems that Jessica is constantly on the move between the capital of Colombia and the Amazon jungle, exploring the world of memory at the same time. The viewer’s sensitivity will be crucial when encountering the director’s unusual poetics, which is certainly unique, but also difficult to digest for some viewers.
Memoria it is certainly a good opportunity to experience the director’s filmography, because we have the heroine played by Tilda Swinton in the center of the story. The actress, known from popular and independent cinema, allows for a friendly entry into Weerasethakul’s story. Of course, it is possible to delude ourselves over its role. I am going to quote here one of the sentences that the actress said during one of the interviews: “You have to be able to come to terms with the fact that you don’t know something.” I have my own interpretations, ideas for what the director wanted to say and reflections on the passing time. However, I do not know exactly what the author meant.
Memoria is a cinematic experience, probably difficult to predict for a viewer who is just starting the screening. There is something fascinating in this story, we have great Tilda Swinton, but also phenomenal scenery. Weerasethakul’s way of showing nature made the greatest impression on me. Will you see ghosts like a director? It’s hard to predict, but it’s definitely worth a try.
Culture expert, journalist and lover of everything related to film and comics. He academically dealt with the story of Captain America and a South Korean genre amusement park. Art has no boundaries, just like the repertoire he selects – from action kids to niche cinema. However, she has the greatest weakness for leggings and everything with the Marvel logo.