Thai-helmed 'Memoria' a Cannes star

Thai-helmed 'Memoria' a Cannes star

A scene in Memoria. photo by ©Kick the Machine Films, Burning, Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions, ZDF/Arte and Piano, 2021
A scene in Memoria. photo by ©Kick the Machine Films, Burning, Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions, ZDF/Arte and Piano, 2021

A Thai-directed film starring Tilda Swinton has been selected for the main competition of the Cannes Film Festival 2021, the first time in 11 years that a Thai filmmaker will be featured in the top tier of the prestigious festival.

Memoria is directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a Thai director whose previous inclusion in Cannes competition was in 2010, from which he won the Palme d'Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

His latest film, however, is set entirely in Colombia -- in Bogota precisely, as well as in the mountains and archaeological sites of the Latin American country.

Memoria is an international production starring British actress Swinton in the role of Jessica, a woman who's startled by a loud bang at daybreak and sets out to locate the origin of the sonic mystery that haunts her soul. The film, in Spanish and English, also stars French actress Jeanne Balibar. The international co-production is funded by a long list of more than 10 production companies and artistic grants, including from Colombia, Thailand, France, England, China and many more.

This is the third time Apichatpong has been invited to the Cannes Competition, regarded as the top-flight league of world cinema. In 2015, he screened Cemetery of Splendour, a lucid allegory of post-coup Thailand, in the sidebar Un Certain Regard section.

Apichatpong also has another film in Cannes this year: a short film in the anthology The Year of the Everlasting Storm, in which seven directors from around the world reflect on the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 74th Cannes Film Festival will take place from July 6 to 17, having been moved from its usual slot in May due to the Covid-19 situation in France. Last year, the festival was cancelled.

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