Cemetery of Splendour
Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s stunning film, titled Cemetery of Splendour, takes the world of cinema in a unique direction, which tends to focus more on the emotional side of things rather than action. The story follows Jenjira, a volunteer who offers her services in a pseudo hospital taking care of comatose soldiers who seem to be in an endless sleep. Jenjira forms a connection with one of the sleeping men, Itt, and so she enlists the help of Ken, a young psychic, to help her strengthen that bond. Together they fall into a realm made up of the past and the present.
The director uses the storyline to explore a deeper meaning, one that involves healing through dreams. Around 30 minutes in it becomes obvious that the goal of this piece of work is not to entertain but to tap into a different kind of filmmaking. There is no single set meaning, nor is there a conclusive outcome, but the movie offers something new.
Wide and long shots are used enormously throughout, helping the film maintain its solemn and quiet tone. The camera rarely moves and the audience are forced to accept every scene as it is, without explanation most of the time. Cemetery of Splendour itself resembles a dream almost, with its nonsensical pattern and its separate realities. What makes the movie so interesting is that it allows the watcher to become fully submerged without trying to interpret what anything means. The use of colours and light emphasises this dream-like state, and it becomes harder to detach yourself away from the emotions that the characters are tapping into.
Weerasethakul uses a variety of techniques to create a piece of work that transcends the typical western rules of filmmaking. Cemetery of Splendour succeeds in bringing dreams to life whilst still existing in the present.
Cemetery of Splendour is released nationwide on 17th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for Cemetery of Splendour here: