Cemetery of Splendor

Cemetary-of-SplendourWhile I’ll be the first one to admit that Apichatpong Weerasethakul is not for me, his latest effort, Cemetery of Splendor showcases his best work to date. The supernatural element in Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is what really made the film stand out compared to the rest of his filmography up to that point. The biggest problem that I have with the majority of Weerasethakul’s filmography is that they are all very similar with each other. While his last two films still share many similarities with his early work, Weerasethakul has mixed it up quite a bit. There are a handful of moments throughout the course of Cemetery of Splendor that are painstakingly dull to get through, but the cinematography by Diego García makes up for it on most occasions. The static shots in this are sometimes excessive, to say the least, but with the help of García’s incredible eye and some of the best use of neon lighting I have ever seen in a film, shots as mundane as watching a ceiling fan go around and around are entrancing. There are other static shots in the film that just had me questioning the necessity of their length. For example, there is one shot early on in the film that is just a woman having a bowel movement outside. It stretches on for far longer than it needed to be with very little purpose whatsoever. As mentioned, there are many excessive shots throughout the course of the film, but they often reveal something. The camera will turn in the slightest way a lot of times that will provide a whole new context of what we were just looking. What made Cemetery of Splendor a lot easier to digest than the rest of Weerasethakul’s filmography is the surprising amount of humor that is sprinkled throughout the course of the film. The erection scene will go down as one of the most memorable scenes of the year, come December. Surprisingly, that is not even the most memorable scene in the entire film. The final scene is far and away the best thing Weerasethakul has put to screen in his career so far. While Cemetery of Splendor is a film that requires many viewings to untangle fully, it is not to be missed.

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