Quick-Thoughts: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria (2021)

“Experiences are harmful: they unleash a violent flurry in the memory.”

Finally, the hearing cleanse that I needed. To hell with going to the doctors; amiright? *delusional*

Memoria, not to that much of a shock, is about someone uncovering the mystery behind her memory, brought to life when a mysterious, canorous thumping noise begins occupying the ears. She initially presumes that this noise is happening at random, appearing in jump-scare-like magnitudes of shock that catch both her and likely us viewers off-guard during their first couple appearances, but incident by incident do the noises begin to appear only more as if they’ve been orchestrating her into seemingly destined situations. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest contribution to gentle and cryptic cinema is another kind of homage to one of life’s greatest mysteries: the tragic unreliability yet adventurous bliss within memory as a form of believed reality and dependable guidance, exhorting divisively both our distrusts towards the present time and our innocence from its lack of objectivity.

In classic Joe fashion, Memoria is divided into essentially two halves: the first being a playful one for the viewers, reading like a subjective strand of our main character’s non-chronological-made-chronological recollection of her condition’s inception, introducing ambiguously connected segments that appear like a brace between sensationalized dreams and past realities, and the second is assumed to be just the very present – perhaps outside of a memory – where she meets somebody of a familiar name who can recall the pasts of any object. This latter part I find to be an interesting reconstruction of Weerasethakul’s usual execution when it comes to depicting telepathy, since with the introduction of a literal premise based on sound, it only makes sense that he has fulfilled such potential with an audibly intense atmosphere where the audience-relied imagination is now directed to primarily concentrate on just one of the senses to experience the filmmaker’s trademark mysticism. Strangely enough, this elongated sequence feels as if our main character is confronting a sort of God figure, absorbing some truth about her life from Him regarding how the strong, connected experiences of the people she knew buckled her interpretation of what has led up to now. It is by far one of the most meditative and simultaneously lighting-in-a-bottle sequences that the auteur has concocted yet. 

On the topic of our memories not being purely made by the wield of our own though, the film thematically gave me Blade Runner 2049 (2017) vibes when it comes to that idea of handed down memory. For some reason the song I Know the End by Phoebe Bridgers also came to mind when watching this, but I suppose that’s only a testament to how lyrical Joe’s movies frequently appear to be. 

Verdict: B+

2022 Ranked, Apichatpong Weerasethakul Ranked

“Memoria” is now playing in select theaters.

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