Cemetery of Splendour

The latest from great Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a hypnotic masterpiece

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 31 May 2016
  • Cemetery of Splendour
Film title: Cemetery of Splendour
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Starring: Jenjira Pongpas, Banlop Lomnoi, Jarinpattra Rueangram, Petcharat Chaiburi, Tawatchai Buawat, Sujittraporn Wongsrikeaw, Bhattaratorn Senkraigul
Release date: 17 Jun

Apichatpong Weerasethakul has by now established himself as one of the world's pre-eminent filmmakers, but the unsung hero in his work is Jenjira Pongpas, the actress with the wry expression and uneven gait who has appeared in four of his features. She gives her most moving performance yet in Cemetery of Splendour as a nurse treating soldiers stricken by a mysterious sleeping sickness, and being drawn to one slumbering man in particular.

As ever in Apichatpong's films, the past and the present have a habit of overlapping, with both the spiritual and corporeal worlds existing side-by-side. When Jen is visited by the ghosts of two princesses or taken on a tour of a palace that no longer stands, she doesn't bat an eyelid, and neither does the audience, so immersed are we in the world Apichatpong has created. His films look, sound and feel like nothing else; the stillness and inviting beauty of his frames exert a hypnotic pull. If Cemetery of Splendour is to be the last film the director makes in Thailand, he is saying goodbye with a masterpiece.

Released by New Wave Films