Home Memoria

Memoria (12A)

Cast: Elkin Diaz, Jeanne Balibar, Tilda Swinton
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Release Date: 14/01/2022 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 136mins
Country: Col/Thai/Fr/Ger/Mex/Qat/UK/Chi.Switz
Year: 2021

Botanist Jessica Holland travels to Bogota to visit her sister Karen, who is recuperating in hospital from a mysterious malady. In the early hours of the morning, Jessica is rudely woken by a short, almost metallic thud. She initially blames construction work in a neighbouring property but that explanation is quickly debunked. Playing detective, Jessica visits sound engineer Hernan to recreate the disturbance. When Jessica experiences the thuds again, she realises no-one else can hear them.


LondonNet Film Review
Memoria (12A)

Since he made his feature directorial debut more than 20 years ago with the aptly titled documentary Mysterious Object At Noon, award-winning film-maker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has repeatedly plunged arthouse audiences into woozy, waking dreams captured in his signature long takes with naturalistic ambient sound. Memoria, his first film scripted (partially) in English and shot outside of his native Thailand, uses the streets and jungles of present-day Colombia as a backdrop to a hypnotic, poetic and at times soporific meditation on reminiscence and the unknown…

It’s a film which wilfully embraces ambiguity and defies categorisation, building to a protracted finale involving lead actor Tilda Swinton and Colombian co-star Elkin Diaz that both soothes and confounds (“I am a hard disk and somehow, you are an antenna…”) Whether audiences are willing to accept Weerasethakul’s resolution is debatable. I was rudely roused from my blissful, trance-like state at that juncture like the rows of parked cars at the beginning of the film, which sound their alarms one by one in response to an invisible force and just as quickly return to serene and secure silence.

Performing in both English and Spanish, Swinton is a ghostlike presence, floating through scenes with an eerie calm as a new acquaintance vanishes without trace and a man she thought was dead turns out to be alive and well. She plays botanist and orchid expert Jessica Holland, who travels from Medellin to Bogota to visit her sister Karen (Agnes Brekke), who is recuperating in hospital from a mysterious malady. Karen’s scholarly husband Juan (Daniel Gimenez Cacho) suggests his wife may be the victim of a curse conjured by Amazonian tribal elders, who are the subject of Karen’s research.

In the early hours of the morning, Jessica is rudely woken by a short, almost metallic thud. She initially blames construction work in a neighbouring property but that explanation is quickly debunked. Playing detective, Jessica visits sound engineer Hernan (Juan Pablo Urrego), who asks her to describe the disturbance. “It’s like a rumble from the core of the Earth,” she offers in faltering Spanish.

He recreates the sound and when Jessica experiences the thuds again, she realises no=one else can hear them. Fearing the most obvious explanation (“I think I’m going crazy”), the botanist seeks the source of her sonic disturbances through a new acquaintance, French archaeologist Agnes (Jeanne Balibar).

Anchored by Swinton’s spectral performance, Memoria is a deliberately slow-paced, sensory experience that possesses the same swooning lyricism as the Thai writer-director’s earlier work. Apart from the otherworldly sonic boom of the closing 10 minutes, Weerasethakul’s metaphysical meander is an entrancing out-of-body experience that no-one, even those who reject it, will easily forget. Don’t wake me up.

– Kim Hu


London Cinemas Showing Memoria


From: Friday 21st January
To: Thursday 27th January

ArtHouse Crouch End

Fri/Sun/Mon/Wed 15:30; Sat 12:00; Tue 15:15; Thu 12:15

BFI Southbank

Fri 14:00; Sat 14:20 17:30; Sun 18:10; Mon 20:20; Wed 17:45; Thu 17:50

Cine Lumiere

Fri 17:50; Wed 15:10

Crouch End Picturehouse

Sat 20:50; Mon 20:40

Curzon Bloomsbury

Fri/Tue/Wed 17:50; Sat 17:40; Sun 17:00; Thu 17:45

Everyman Muswell Hill

Sun 15:00; Thu 11:15

Hackney Picturehouse

Tue 18:10; Wed 17:00

ICA Cinema

Fri 20:55; Sat 19:00; Sun 21:00; Tue 12:10 18:15; Wed 12:25 20:40; Thu 12:45 20:35

Odeon Wimbledon

Wed/Thu 14:00

Picturehouse Central

Thu 12:30 18:00

Prince Charles Cinema

Fri/Mon 15:00; Sun 12:25; Wed 17:45

Rio

Fri/Sat/Mon/Wed/Thu 18:00; Sun 14:30; Tue 14:45 20:00

Vue Islington

Thu 15:55

From: Friday 28th January
To: Thursday 3rd February

BFI Southbank

Fri 18:10; Sun 15:35; Wed 20:20; Thu 18:00

Cine Lumiere

Sat 18:55

Hackney Picturehouse

Fri 13:10; Wed 13:00

ICA Cinema

Fri/Tue/Thu 12:45 (Thu) 20:45; Sat 18:40; Sun 17:00; Wed 18:15

Odeon Camden

Tue 20:15

Odeon Wimbledon

Fri 14:20; Mon/Thu 17:40; Tue 19:40

Picturehouse Central

Fri/Tue 13:00; Mon 12:15

The Castle Cinema

Fri 15:45 20:45; Sat 12:45 17:45; Sun 19:30; Mon 15:30 21:00; Tue 13:45; Wed 15:30 20:45

Vue Islington

Fri 22:10; Sat 22:30; Sun 21:00; Mon 16:50; Tue 15:00; Wed 21:25; Thu 14:00

UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Memoria


From: Friday 21st January
To: Thursday 27th January

Odeon Brighton

Sat/Sun 13:00; Mon 17:30

Picturehouse At FACT

Fri 18:00; Sun 14:45; Mon 15:30

Vue Manchester Printworks

Wed 17:50; Thu 13:30 17:45

Watermans

Fri 13:00; Sun/Thu 16:00; Wed 19:00

From: Friday 28th January
To: Thursday 3rd February

Cinema City Picturehouse

Sun 11:00; Mon 19:50

City Screen Picturehouse

Sun 13:10; Mon 19:30; Thu 13:50

Odeon Bath

Tue 19:40

Odeon Cardiff

Tue 19:40

Odeon Epsom

Tue 19:40

Odeon Lincoln

Tue 19:40

Odeon Norwich

Tue 19:40

Picturehouse At FACT

Sat 20:50; Sun 20:00; Thu 12:30

Vue Cambridge

Thu 19:30

Vue Edinburgh Omni Centre

Fri 14:15; Sat 22:05; Sun 21:00; Mon 15:00; Tue 14:05 15:05; Wed 15:45; Thu 14:45

Vue Leeds The Light

Fri 13:55; Sat 21:55; Sun 20:30; Mon 12:20 14:20; Tue 13:40 15:50; Wed 14:50