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“The plot is not the main thing. The main thing is magic.” Film critic tells how to watch the new film “Memory”

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It is difficult to talk about Virasetakul’s films. For example, because usually when you express your opinion about something to some interested (or even not at all) interlocutor, you both present the subject in some detail. Virasetakula movies are not like that. This is, without a doubt, one of the most authorial cinemas in existence at the moment, and to retell its plots, for example, would mean to fall into an unpleasant misunderstanding.

In this very cosmopolitan film Virasetakula (see, for example, the number of countries involved in the production, or see, for example, the fact that the film speaks English and Spanish, and does not speak Thai), there is a heroine Tilda Swinton named Jessica. And Jessica has a problem. Jessica constantly hears the same sound, which (apparently – we are not told directly about it, but we can guess – do not hear others). The sound is strange and sharp, as if someone is beating a drum in a round tin basin, as Jessica herself describes it to a German sound engineer, who does not understand why he should pick up the most similar noise from his sound library. And it’s not clear what Jessica wants to do with that sound. At first you, a naive viewer, think that this worries her, and she wants to eliminate this strange obstacle in her life. Although it doesn’t seem to bother her to live, she grows orchids and translates poetry from Spanish to English.

Then, near the end, we learn that, it turns out, her obsession with this sound has reached the point that she “wants to hear it more often.”

But by this point, the sound story is fading into the background. Because Jessica meets Hernan. Hernan is a Colombian who lives in the countryside, cleans fish and does not follow any news. Even football, although it would seem that you can not watch football, so Jessica believes that something, and Hernan would like football. But no. Then she asks Hernan to sleep, right next to her, because she wants to see him asleep.

Then we return to the sound. But the main thing, perhaps, happens in the meantime. When Hernan is asleep and Jessica is looking at him. When Hernan, Jessica’s question, how it is there, in death, answers: “I was interrupted.”

In short, the plot is not the main thing in Virasetakul’s movie. The main thing is magic, magic that flows from every long static frame, from every incomprehensible dialogue, from every sound of any melody that accompanies the image.

“Memory”, whether due to geographical attachment to South America, or for some other reason, madly reminded me of almost all the films of my beloved Carlos Reigadas. I didn’t really like or understand Virasetakula before this movie, but this movie probably changed the paradigm. Understanding him, as well as Reigadas, is probably not very important. Because how can you understand what is not a product of the same species as you? You need to feel it, you need to immerse yourself in it, the Virasetakula movie, no matter how banal it may sound, is something akin to sleep and a drug trip. You do not understand why in a dream everything happens exactly as it happens. You don’t know why LSD affects you the way it affects you. And for your comrade, who seemed to be throwing himself at the same time as you and the same number as you, in a completely different way. Looking at Virasetakula, I think the most important thing is to let go of consciousness. Do not think, do not try to comprehend what is happening in the brain. Sail the waves of the world he creates. It seems that it used to be called “poetic cinema”.

Feel, turn off the radio. Let these substances into your world. Connect your “I” with them. With Tilda Swinton. With Hernan. With fish. With sounds. It will not become clearer, brighter and somehow more spacious – yes.

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