Cemetery of Splendor: Apichatpong Weerasethaku’s New Magical Tale

With his new, riveting movie, Cemetery of Splendor, Thai writer-director Apichatpong Weerasethakul again demonstrates that he is an auteur with his own unique voice, able to craft original, idiosyncratic tales with a tenderly light touch.

Like some of his previous films, Cemetery of Splendor tells an intentionally enigmatic tale that casts an hypnotic spell, largely due to its interesting blend of realism and surrealism.

When the story begins, soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are being transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school.

Grdually, the memory-filled space becomes a mysteriously revelatory world for a housewife and volunteer named Jenjira, who’s watching over Itt, a handsome soldier, who seems more isolated than the others as he has no visitors–family or friends.

Jenjira befriends a young medium Keng, who’s able to use her psychic powers for the purpose of helping loved ones communicate with the comatose men. Various doctors are preoccupied with exploring various ways, including colored light therapy, to ease the mens’ troubled dreams.

Turning point occurs when Jen discovers Itt’s cryptic notebook, which is full of strange writings and blueprint sketches. Gradually, she begins to suspect that There may be a strange connection between the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic.

In the end, magic, healing, romance and dreams are become interrelated parts of Jen’s tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her.