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Cemetery of Splendour

Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Rak ti Khon Kaen
Thailand, UK, Germany, France, Malaysia, South Korea, Mexico, USA, Norway  2015 / 122’
Beuys Elle

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a well-known and respected filmmaker throughout the world and also specifically by New Horizons audiences, who are familiar with some of his work, such as Blissfully Yours (third New Horizons), Tropical Malady (fifth New Horizons), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (11th New Horizons), and Mekong Hotel (12th New Horizons). His latest film took part in the prestigious Un Certain Regard section at the Festival in Cannes. Cemetery of Splendour is centered around a former school building, which is currently set up as a hospital to care for soldiers who have fallen in a mysterious coma. Jenjira, who is struggling with her own physical imperfections, volunteers at the institution. She is particularly interested in a handsome soldier named Itt, and she devotes most of her attention to him. With time, Jenjira notices that she is "in synch" with Itt, who regains consciousness soon after that. A simple narrative makes it possible to keep track of this multidimensional story without giving in to easy, unambiguous interpretations. The starting point for the story may have been an incident from a few years earlier when, under unclear circumstances, 40 soldiers were quarantined in a hospital in the north of Thailand. The director uses metaphors to talk about the situation in his country: about the political turmoil, the coups d'état, the outbursts of aggression, and the protests that have paralyzed the government. Weerasethakul's film is not only a political allegory but also a trip back to his childhood and family village where the action takes place.

Sławomir Wasiński

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul was born in Bangkok in 1970. He lived with his parents in Khon Kaen, where they both worked at a hospital. He obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Architecture in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts at the Department of Film in Chicago three years later. He is one of the best-known independent Thai directors. He is also a screenwriter and film producer. He made his debut in 2000 with the successful and original documentary Mysterious Object at Noon. His Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won a Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2010.

Selected filmography

1993 Bullet

1994 Kitchen and Bedroom

1998 Thirdworld

2000 Dokfa nai meuman / Mysterious Object at Noon

2002 Sud sanaeha / Blissfully Yours

2003 Hua jai tor ra nong / The Adventure of Iron Pussy

2004 Tropikalna gorączka / Sud pralat / Tropical Malady

2010 Wujek Boonmee, który potrafi przywołać swoje poprzednie wcielenia / Loong Boonmee raleuk chat / Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

2012 Mekong Hotel

Cast & Crew

director Apichatpong Weerasethakul
screenplay Apichatpong Weerasethakul
cinematography Diego Garcia
editing Lee Chatametikool
cast Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram, Richard Abramson, Sujittraporn Wongsrikeaw, Bhattaratorn Senkraigul, Petcharat Chaiburi
producer Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Charles de Meaux, Simon Field, Hans W. Geissendörfer, Keith Griffiths, Michael Weber
production Kick the Machine, Illuminations Films, The Match Factory
Polish distributor Stowarzyszenie Nowe Horyzonty
language Thai, English
colouration colour