“Cemetery of Splendor”: Taking the big sleep in enchanting Thai film


“Cemetery of Splendor” has its Madison premiere on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St. Free for non-members, $7 for all others. Not rated, 1:51, three stars out of four.

In the films of Thai director , the line between the living and the dead is not a wall, but a thin beaded curtain through which each side can see each other, wave to each other, even visit each other. In his last film, the beautiful and strange “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” a dying man is visited at the dinner table by the ghosts of his wives and son (his son having turned into a red-eyed Chewbacca-looking creature) and he welcomes them warmly, like they had RSVP’ed ahead.

Weerasethakul’s new film, “Cemetery of Splendor,” is comparatively simpler than “Boonmee” — you won’t see a princess get seduced by a talking catfish this time around. But that placid, normal-seeming exterior seems appropriate for a film that is about digging beneath the layers, digging to the past, digging to the subterranean heart of ourselves.

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