"The time is now, a numbing and timeless present of hospital stays, bureaucratic questioning, and wandering through remembered spaces... and suddenly it is also then, the mid '70s and the ... See full summary »
Soldiers with a mysterious sleeping sickness are transferred to a temporary clinic in a former school. The memory-filled space becomes a revelatory world for housewife and volunteer Jenjira, as she watches over Itt, a handsome soldier with no family visitors. Jen befriends young medium Keng who uses her psychic powers to help loved ones communicate with the comatose men. Doctors explore ways, including colored light therapy, to ease the mens' troubled dreams. Jen discovers Itt's cryptic notebook of strange writings and blueprint sketches. There may be a connection between the soldiers' enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic. Magic, healing, romance and dreams are all part of Jen's tender path to a deeper awareness of herself and the world around her.
Prolonged and slow pacing of an almost non-existing story...
It was initially the synopsis of the movie that made me give "Cemetery of Splendor" (aka "Rak ti Khon Kaen") a chance and sat down to watch it, plus the fact that it is a Thai movie - as I do enjoy Asian cinema quite a lot.
"Cemetery of Splendor" is a rather slow paced movie, and there is very little happening, so it becomes a rather tiresome affair to keep focus on the movie and it is a struggle to have the interest maintained on the storyline. And running at two hours, then your will to continue will be challenged to its limits. I found myself checking the time stamp of the progress of the movie frequently because it felt like an eternity of getting nowhere in the movie. I managed to get almost halfway through the movie before I gave up out of complete and utter hopelessness and boredom.
The characters in the movie seemed fairly one-dimensional and were lacking personalities and outstanding traits. They could essentially have been portrayed by one and the same actor, because it was hard to differentiate the individual characters. The audience can't really connect with the characters in the movie as they are essentially faceless and one-dimensional, so you have no bond or association to the characters. And it didn't help that most of the dialogue throughout the movie was delivered with a lack of convicting and impact. It became a bit too much when you saw a guy sitting in the bush and actually defecating. Sure, I know that this is how it is done in certain parts of rural Thailand, but come on, this was a scene that was not necessary to show on the screen, and it served absolutely no purpose for the story.
I will say that the actors and actresses in the movie were doing good enough jobs with their roles and characters, despite being so hindered by a lack of thorough script and storyline.
The pacing of the movie was unfathomably slow, as I stated earlier, and prolonged shots of people sleeping, rural landscapes with nothing happening, random people exercising in the park, and other such pointless things didn't really help to improve the movie in any way. "Cemetery of Splendor" is slow and uneventful to say the least. However, despite this dull and mind-numbing slow pace, then there is something aesthetic and profound about the movie and its editing.
I think what writer and director Apichatpong Weerasethakul was trying to accomplish with this movie was lost on me, or somehow lost in transition.
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