The highly anticipated world premiere screening of Memoria, the new film from Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and starring English actress Tilda Swinton, takes place this week at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
On the afternoon of Thursday July 15, acclaimed Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s new movie Memoria will have its star-studded, red carpet world premiere at the 74th edition of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. This gala screening, which takes place one day before the director’s 51st birthday, is causing a lot of buzz amongst industry VIPs and moviegoers attending the festival.
This film’s official debut will take place at the festival’s Grand Théâtre Lumière, and scheduled to be in attendance, alongside director Apichatpong, will the film’s star, Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, as well as fellow cast members Jeanne Balibar, Elkin Díaz, Juan Pablo Urrego, and Daniel Giménez Cacho.
In the film Tilda plays a Scottish orchid farmer in Columbia who finds herself unable to sleep after being startled at daybreak one morning by a loud and inexplicable ‘bang’. She later befriends an archaeologist studying some newly unearthed human remains, and becomes fixated on a 6,000-year-old skull with a hole drilled into it – in order to “release bad spirits” the archaeologist tells her. Together the pair travel to the excavation site, where a series of events suggests that ancient memories are now connecting Jessica to everyone and everything around her.
Director Apichatpong has had many of his films screened at Cannes, but perhaps the biggest impact was made when his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives received the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, making him the first Southeast Asian director ever to win this top award. For Tilda Swinton, a noted cinephile and long-time admirer of Apichatpong’s work, Uncle Boonmee ranks as one of her all-time favourites. She describes it as: “Slow cinema at its most immersive, lateral and resonant. It’s possible to believe you dreamed Apichatpong’s films after you see them… they certainly take you somewhere you’ve never been before on this earth.”
Over the years the actress and the director have become close friends and, in fact, Apichatpong wrote the script for Memoria specifically with Tilda Swinton, as well as co-star Jeanne Balibar (who plays Agnes, the archaeologist), in mind. This is the director’s first film set outside of Thailand, and his first to employ such a high-calibre, international cast, with a script that combines a mix of English and Spanish dialogue.
When asked about working with such cinematic luminaries, Apichatpong says: “I am grateful to have witnessed Tilda and Jeanne searching for Jessica and Agnes in their own ways. Tilda was open to her transformation, like water, while Jeanne follows her feeling in each rehearsal and each take.”
In addition to Memoria, Apichatpong contributed a segment to the anthology film The Year of the Everlasting Storm, which is also having its premiere screening at Cannes 2021. As for Tilda Swinton, she appears in no less than five films at this year’s event, including director Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which received a nine-minute standing ovation at its Monday night premiere.
Watch the official trailer for Memoria here:
(Hero and featured image: Kick the Machine Films)