Skip to main content
film review

Taking place in an atemporal, apolitical space, Memoria centres on Jessica, played by Tilda Swinton, a Scottish orchid farmer visiting her sister in Bogotá.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter. Sign up today.

Memoria

Written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Starring Tilda Swinton

Classification N/A; 136 minutes

Opens at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto May 13, other Canadian cities throughout May


Critic’s pick


There’s something about Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The Thai auteur, who makes his English-language debut with Memoria, creates films that feel more like liminal dream states.

The plot of his latest is simple, strange and effective: Scottish orchid farmer Jessica (in a role that could only be played by Tilda Swinton) wakes up one morning from the sound of a loud reverberating bang in her dream, which repeats at odd moments during her waking life. Determined to find out why, Jessica goes on a quest to the sound recording booths, university quarters and mountainous landscapes of Bogota, Colombia, as the lines between past and future, reality and death, blur into one big bang itself.

Gorgeous wide shots and the longest takes of the year will allow your mind to settle as you watch Swinton desperately try to find the source of her existential ennui. It’s a beautiful work of cinematic concentration that’s purely Apichatpong.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Jessica goes on a quest to the sound recording booths, university quarters and mountainous landscapes of Bogotá, Colombia, as the lines between past and future, reality and death, blur into one big bang itself.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Plan your screen time with the weekly What to Watch newsletter, with film, TV and streaming reviews and more. Sign up today.