Apichatpong picks up where Uncle Boonmee left off: in a modernizing world, full of industry and mass culture, but with spirits, phantoms, and memories of an older Thailand mixing seamlessly with the present. Like its title, Cemetery of Splendor is both a dark and an incredibly optimistic film, full of love for its characters and arguing that the human mind is much better at getting below the surface than a backhoe.
Although Cemetery is full of absolutely breathtaking compositions, it is each cut here which is a staggering revelation, touching the sublime. Also contains possibly the greatest dissolve is the history of cinema. Really, on a purely formal level, as far as Joe's other films go Cemetery most resembles Syndromes and a Century. Plus, you know, the hospital. Superlative art. Sleeping sickness is a robust metaphor!
what a magical metaphor for a coup d'état supported by the thai king. filmgoers as inanimate bodies. joe's take on actuality is just the entrance into a far beyond dimension full of insomnia driven sleepwalkers. the strangeness of his often symmetrical shots is comparable only to pedro costa in contemporary filmmaking.
It's always good to be here in the midst of death-- sighing, chuckling, falling asleep and awake beside Joe's walking, wondering wounded while inside his somehow consoling dislocations. If it may all come to seem too comfortable, too familiarly unfamiliar, a matter of stylistic and philosophical reflex, well, it hasn't yet. Live in this film with its dead, see with the eyes of its blind, and bury tomorrow in dreams.
"Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you/Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you/But in your dreams whatever they be/Dream a little dream of me" (Gus Kahn). Inhabiting the other through his dreams, occupying the world through the dream, the world dreamed. To see dreams while awake: Heraclitus devised a paradigm that in this film becomes "imagenary".
The already manneristic spirits story re-presents itself in a fan of multiple events merging together in a linear development of time that deprives them of their original meaning. Current events become borders, undefined bridge, colliding with a past that’s origin in reprisal, making shards of actuality.
Modern environments are narrated by assemblies of self-incubated actants under a network of unlikely collectives. Cemetery of Splendour, however, breeds a new kind of naturalistic accuracy in the absence of beginnings, enlightenments and endings – empty spaces ornate the ornaments. Its regulatory forces render all gestures dim ‘here’ and permanent ‘somewhere else’ through a kaleidoscopic hierarchy of multiverses. 3.5
Apitchatpong and crew were kind to be present for the Q&A with the audience at the SGIFF screening. He remarked that he was growing frustrated with the political climate in his home country, and was reluctant to screen it over there. A meditation on sleep and the intertwining of past/present. Sleeping as an escape from the present; as an act of waiting; as a form of resistance; as an expression of powerlessness.