Wednesday, 14 October 2015

LFF REVIEW - CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR (APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL)


The whole world rises to greet Apichatpong Weerasethakul, a world of dreams and spirituality, of past and future, of life and death, of sleep and wakefulness. Cemetery of Splendour is Weerasethakul's bittersweet vision of that present, where all of the above converges, and the film is like a wide-eyed awakening of our own, a mundane yet mystical glance through the prism of the mind of a genius. As a reflection both of and on the Thailand that he has known, and may no longer know again, Weerasethakul's film may be his most direct to date, despite its obvious abstractions, and his most sincere and insular. Its purpose seems to wither the further your thoughts drift from its action, configuring Cemetery of Splendour as a great, subtle work of art unto itself. And your thoughts will drift, into dreams of the semi-conscious and the subconscious, sweetly matching the film's dreamy obscurity. Weerasethakul dwells upon enchanting visual details, concealing the true purpose of his directorial gaze: allowing, or perhaps forcing, the viewer's mind to make itself up about the significance of what it witnesses. What a lot to witness, too, with a beguiling soundscape, layered like the richest mise-en-scene of the most visually literate filmmakers, of whom Weerasethakul is surely one. Light and sound dictate our interpretation of events, even serving as the only actual events depicted in Cemetery of Splendour. The eyes and the ears are each treated to wondrous cinematic delights, the theatre of the screen (and on the screen) joined by the theatre of the mind and the theatre of the senses. A film for the whole body to enjoy, and would that the whole world knew it.