Cemetery of Splendour
In 2010 the Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul won the Golden Palm at Cannes with his Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Five years later, his Cemetery of Splendour, a spiritual tale of a group of soldiers gripped by a mysterious sleep disorder, also collected praise. Nurse Jenjira looks after the soldiers.
In a village along the Mekong river, 27 soldiers are being nursed in an improvised hospital. All of them are affected by narcolepsy, a mysterious sleep disorder. Jenjira, an elderly nurse, looks after the young soldiers and develops a close bond with one of them, the handsome Itt.
Meanwhile Keng, a medium, tries to establish contact with the patients and discovers bizarre writings and drawings in Itt’s notebooks. The makeshift hospital appears to have been constructed on holy ground, being the burial site of the kings of Thailand.
As in earlier films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, dream and reality fuse in Cemetery of Splendour, with the filmmaker depicting an enchanted world in which past and present, magic and earthiness become almost inseparable. Weerasethakul’s films – often described as ‘poetic’ and ‘surrealist’ – are at the same time regarded as a personal allegory of Thailand’s social and political history. The film was nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes.