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Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s ‘Cemetery of Kings’ Shoots This Fall, Will Be His Smallest Film

Written by on May 27, 2014 

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After we got word that Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul would perhaps be shooting his follow-up to his Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives last year, we included it in our most-anticipated films of the year, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer. With the helmer gearing up for pre-production (in between screenings of Godzilla), we now have an update on his next film, Cemetery of Kings.

Speaking with Little White Lies, “Joe” revealed that the project is now set to shoot in September in his hometown, so one can book those plane tickets to Cannes 2015 sooner rather than later. He also gave a few more details about the “science-fiction movie” that centers around “artificial light appearing around [a] group of people,” saying that it will be his “smallest” production yet and “really simple.”

He also revealed an intriguing link between this forthcoming film and his decade-old Tropical Malady, saying that the main character from his new film will be the same soldier, played by Banlop Lomnoi. He adds, “I really want to link to the scene in Tropical Malady when he is sleeping in the jungle. This new movie is what he’s dreaming.” For those thinking it will be his take on Inception, he downplays that notion, saying there just might be a “few hints and suggestions.” If anyone can pull off an effective film about sleeping, it’s certainly “Joe,” so as we await more details, check out an extended synopsis below.

In a small town in Thailand, twenty-seven soldiers come down with a strange case of sleeping sickness. An abandoned elementary school is converted to accommodate them. Jenjira Widner, a middle-age Thai lady who is married to Frank, a retired soldier from the US, volunteers to tend to the sleeping soldiers. She takes special interest in Itta who has no visiting relatives.

At the public library, Jenjira meets two phantoms who tell her about a buried cemetery of kings underneath the school/hospital. Jenjira is alarmed and feels more protective towards Itta. At the same time, the young soldier makes her heart flutter. Frank, her husband, becomes suspicious.

Jenjira’s fear and confusion trigger a strange dream that she shares with Itta, a dream that involves a large unidentified creature on the Mekong River’s shore. Its carcass leads Jenjira to Itta’s imaginary girlfriend, Phon, who revitalizes her with the power of poems, remembering, and touching. At the shore, Jenjira fulfils her fantasy of having a younger man begging for her love. Not far away, the dead animal is cut up. Its belly is full of marigold flowers in various stages of decay.

Are you looking forward to Cemetery of Kings?


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