As a precursor, I did not get along with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. At all.
From the films I have seen of his, director Weerasethakul loves to let his scenes breathe. Lingering on the shot for longer than you would expect, almost to the point that you are wondering if something else is about to happen. This is commonplace throughout Memoria and while the scenery is stunning at times it does slow the pace of this film down considerably.
Jessica (Tilda Swinton) is an expat living in Colombia who inexplicably hears a loud noise one night that defies explanation. She tries her best, alongside her normal working day and visiting her sister in hospital, to discover what this noise was and why it keeps happening to just her. This does lead her on a fantastical journey, meeting lots of new people and exploring further afield. While some of the events are tied together, a lot seem to be unlinked to anything specific in the rest of the film, which did make me question a few times the decisions made.
Tilda Swinton is perfect in this role as Jessica. Her mostly distracted behaviour throughout is almost dreamlike to behold, like she is floating through this existence. Just wandering through this adventure that leads her from the depths of a tunnel excavation with a University department through to wandering the mountains by a small village. The discussions that she has are ethereal and no small amount of weird, but then the journey that she is on itself is ethereal and weird.
This is not a film about the discovery but more about the journey and while it was well done, I struggled at times with the style just like I have done previously. It is definitely an experience and, I would say, much more accessible than his previous work.