Cemetery of Splendor | Chicago Reader

Cemetery of Splendor

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) crafts another of his mysterious tales dissolving the boundaries between past and present, people and nature, the conscious and the unconscious. Calm and quiet, but nicely paced, the film centers on a kindly middle-aged woman volunteering at a small-town medical clinic for soldiers afflicted with a strange sleeping sickness. According to two Laotian goddesses (who appear to the heroine in modern casual wear), the clinic sits on the site of an ancient cemetery whose dead kings enlist the sleeping men as dream warriors. This 2015 film has been called an allegory for the current political tumult in Thailand; that part went right over my head, but a dazzling shot in which Weerasethakul superimposes the rows of occupied hospital beds with shoppers on a bank of mall escalators encapsulates the sense of a voyage taking place in complete stillness. In English and subtitled Thai.

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