First ‘Memoria’ Trailer Teases an Enigmatic Thriller With Tilda Swinton

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Acclaimed Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is back with his latest film, Memoria, a thrilling drama starring Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton. Currently set to have its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the folks over at NEON released the first trailer for the film in anticipation of its debut. Weerasethakul previously nabbed the coveted Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Festival for what is probably his best-known film, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

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Memoria follows Swinton as a Scottish woman in Colombia who hears a loud bang at daybreak and subsequently begins to experience a mysterious sensory syndrome during her travels. The trailer offers little more information than this brief synopsis, and certainly keeps the rest of the plot and genre shrouded to audiences for an intriguing experience. The soundtrack to the trailer is really the star of this two-minute glimpse, as its combination of metallic, machine-like, and unsettling sounds offer at least some information into the tone of the film, and is quite reminiscent of contemporary classic sci-fi films like Under the Skin.

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Image via NEON

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In an official statement, Weerasethakul mentions that this film is almost semi-autobiographical, as he experienced his own auditory hallucination while visiting Colombia: “While researching, I often heard a loud noise at dawn. It was internal and has occurred in many of the places I visited. This symptom is inseparable from my exposure to Colombia. It has formed the basis of a character whose audio experience synchronises with the country’s memory.”

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Colombia will most likely be integral to the film, particularly as Swinton’s character seems to uncover a 6,000-year-old artifact. The skeleton she finds has a hole drilled into her head in order to “release bad spirits.” Swinton also engages with the culture, landscape, and art of the country, which Weerasethakul depicts as “an expression of people’s remembrances through centuries.”

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This is actually one of the five films that Swinton will appear in Cannes this year, including Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and The Souvenir Part II. Memoria might be the most surreal and strange film in her Cannes oeuvre, as Weerasethakul’s films are often known for their dreamlike and occasionally bewildering mood. Weerasethakul will also direct a segment of The Year of the Everlasting Storm that will premiere at this year’s Cannes, which is an anthology film that includes other renowned international directors like Jafar Panahi, Anthony Chen, Malik Vitthal, Laura Poitras, Dominga Sotomayor, and David Lowery. So it will certainly be a busy Cannes for both star and director!

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NEON has not announced a U.S. release date for Memoria yet, but check out the first trailer and poster below.

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