Memoria ★★★★

The latest cinematic meditation from Apichatpong Weerasethakul has landed and the payoff for Memoria is immense, but it’s largely how it sends you back out into the world. The minimal story in his expansive runtime is of a woman (Tilda Swinton) who starts to hear a disturbingly loud thudding noise that no one else can hear. She attempts to recreate it with a sound mixing artist and eventually finds herself next to a babbling brook talking to a man who is unplugged from technology and in tune with his surroundings.

Weerasthakul uses sound in many intriguing ways throughout the film and he does provide a clear answer to the origins of the thud. Though I did hear some divisive reactions to that explanation. For me, the explanation wasn’t a problem, nor was it one of the more important parts of the movie. What was most important to me is that I left the theater and paused to gaze into the sea air, observing the space between yachts and the soft pinks and blues on the horizon; I closed my eyes and listened, a few steps further, I noticed some neon signs I’ve walked past for days but never stopped to look at before. It put me in tune with my surroundings in a different way, which I think is largely his intent. I am someone who can drive long distances in silence, collecting my thoughts, observing my surroundings, and hearing the hum of rubber on the road. I don’t need outside stimulation at all times, particularly in my ears. I don’t meditate outright but I practice meditation often through silent tasks. And that’s where Memoria clicks for me: in returning to the outside world.

However, as I was so beguiled by my surroundings on my walk back to my hotel I totally missed that my wallet had slipped out of my pocket in the screening room. This immediately shook me from that transformative state and sent me sprinting back to the theater, skipping the new line for the new movie, pleading with security to just let me up the steps, eventually getting to the helpful ushers in blue and red and finding my wallet. The run back to the Soixantieme I was calculating how many hours I could survive without the ability to withdraw cash or make card purchases vs. my 36 hours still abroad. I was thankful that I always keep my passport in the safe. But thank heavens it was returned. Though I’m disappointed how jarringly my meditative state was jostled by money worries. C’est la vie.

More on day 11, including my personal palme d'awards