2015, Movies

Rak ti Khon Kaen aka Cemetery of Splendour (2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

There are certain types of films which require patience. I am almost always better able to appreciate films which require patience in the theatre where I don’t have distractions. At home, I’m liable to find my way to my laptop pretty quickly if a movie is deliberately paced. It’s less bad with English language films because dialogue triggers my attention but with foreign language films, sometimes I drift off. So I regret to say that I definitely didn’t give this my full attention, which is unfair to this film, which is one of the most acclaimed films of 2015.

But even had I given this film my complete, undivided attention (say, in a theatre), I’m not sure I would have loved it. I find these slow moving, deliberately vague but fantastical dramas to not be my cup of tea, unless there’s some really compelling mystery or something like that. It feels like a particularly Asian style of film and, though I’ve seen a few of them at this point, I’m not sure I’m suited to them – it’s not so much the pace as it is the mysticism and fantasy, though t the pace obviously presents problems for me when I’m watching on my couch.

I appreciate that this style does a lot for people, though, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a movie quite like this, though I’ve seen films of a similar style. Despite its languid pace, there’s a lot here to think about, particularly if your Thai, I suspect. (At least part of my issue with films like this which may be allegorical is that I don’t know enough about the particular country it’s form to understand the allegory, if there is indeed an allegory.)

I’m just not sure what to say about something like this – the experience is a very particular one, one which I do not particularly love – even when I am paying a full attention. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film, it just means that this film – this style of film – is not for me.

7/10 I guess

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