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Memoria (2021)

I do love Tilda Swinton in almost everything. She is as close to a perfect vessel for acting as I've come across. She has always struck me as an alien/human hybrid, birthed over aeons by very serious and considered design parameters. Even in repose, she can wither you, jutting intellectualism and short-tempered patience as evident as your inadequacies make you feel in secret. She has a presence that is as unavoidable as it is unpredictable.

Here we have a project that will test your resolve if you don't have a mind to appreciate it. Coming off as somewhat Marmite, there are those have been enraptured by Apichatpong Weerasethakul's picture, and as many aghast it even exists. For the purist maybe and those with a longer attention span than average. This sounds like I'm casting aspersions on those that did not appreciate it, where I'm really not. Either you enjoy it or you don't. I won't lie and tell you this is riveting and will grab you by the short and curlies the second you lay eyes on it, but there is more to see if you take the time to look.

It would even be unfair to call this 'slow-burn', as it doesn't really ever start burning to begin with. The whole affair is one woman's curiosity with both her inner self and the natural world around her, both elements of her existence that she seems to lack any confidence in. There are conversations that she imagined, or had but then didn't happen, people that she meets and interacts with that then disappear as if never having been there to start with. It is one of the years funniosities which never has the chance to be truly amusing.

Weerasethakul has previous form in this regard however, so those familiar with his work should not be surprised, maybe, by the rather eccentric view he presents to us here and Swinton presence seems a like a natural progression by which to grow his audience. Unashamedly arthouse, it practically screams this at you through its often flabbergasting script and then again, by its protruding, prolonged silences.

Not at all for the impatient, but recommended for those that have the time to kill, to stop and pause for a couple of hours and even without understanding or knowing its reason for being, to let it just wash over you. You may not feel cleansed by it, but you certainly will not feel sullied by it either. An acquired taste, to be sure.

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