Seeing Tilda Swinton’s latest film will require some patience and a sharp eye on theater showings. Through its U.S. distributor, Neon, Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethaku’s latest film Memoria has an exclusive, and ever-ongoing theatrical release plan.
After making the decision that showing Memoria in multiple theaters simultaneously would detract from the experience, the film will release with a “deliberate and methodical approach,” Neon says, “moving from city to city, theater to theater, week by week, playing in front of only one solitary audience at any given time.” The hope is Memoria will continuously live on as a kind of never-ending, moving-image art exhibit.
Additionally, in quite the contrary move to modern Hollywood times, Memoria will only be shown in theaters, and will not become available on DVD, on demand, or streaming platforms.
The film’s theater tour will kick off at the IFC Center in New York on December 26, where it will play for a one-week exclusive theatrical run.
Shot in Colombia, Apichatpong Weerasethakul makes his English and Spanish-language debut with Memoria, co-winner of the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
From there, screenings of Memoria will “travel” to the next city, making its rounds throughout the country over a continuous string of weeklong screenings.
Audiences are invited to take the dreamlike plunge into Weerasethakul’s hypnotic brand of filmmaking, whose previous work includes Tropical Malady, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and most recently was included in the anthology film The Year Of The Everlasting Storm.
“For Memoria, [the] cinema experience is crucial or maybe the only way. Let’s embrace the darkness and dream, one at a time,” Weerasethakul says.
The star herself is unsurprisingly onboard with Memoria’s unorthodox rollout. “Memoria is the perfect film for this.... Big cinema or bust… Throughout the universe, in perpetuity,” Tilda Swinton says.
According to Neon, “Memoria is a profoundly serene film, inspired by the Thai director’s own memories and expressions combined with a historical excavation of Latin America. The film lulls audiences into almost a dreamlike state, as they settle in to follow Jessica (Swinton), an expat in Bogota, who, after hearing a jarring sound at daybreak, begins experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia. In her search for the sounds’ origins she encounters both personal and collective ghosts in the surrounding landscapes.”
In addition to Swinton, the film stars Elkin Diaz, Jeanne Balibar, Juan Pablo Orrego, and Daniel Gimenez Cacho.