Thai-directed film in running for top prize at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival has selected a movie directed by Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul as a contender for its most prestigious prize, the Palme d’Or.  Memoria is the first film in a decade from the Kingdom to be considered for the top honor.

Apichatpong won the Palme d’Or in 2010 for Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives. He also wrote and produced that film which dealt with impending death and reincarnation. A graduate of Khon Kaen University and the School of Art Institute of Chicago, the 50-year-old director also captured a jury prize at Cannes in 2004 for his film Tropical Malady.

While Apichatpong’s previous films were about Thailand, his latest work is set in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, as well as in the mountains and archaeological sites of the South American country.

The cast and production of Memoria is also international. It stars British actress Tilda Swinton in the role of Jessica, a woman who is awakened by a loud bang at daybreak and sets out to locate the origin of the sonic mystery that haunts her soul. The film, in Spanish and English, also stars French actress Jeanne Balibar.

Thailand has long had a reputation among Hollywood and global producers and directors as an excellent location for filming and producing movies. The Kingdom’s attractions include its diverse, stunning and unusual landscapes along with an abundance of highly skilled technical personnel.

Thai creativity has been most notable in advertising, where Thai television advertisements regularly win industry awards on the global level for their powerful messaging and top-notch production.

Thai feature films have made less of an impact on world audiences although some have received critical acclaim. That is not unusual, as non-English language movies rarely achieve huge box office numbers outside of their home or regional audience.

Photo courtesy of