Contemporary Arts Department
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Blurred Boundaries Between Dreams and Waking Life in Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendor
Cemetery of Splendor (2015), by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, depicts the spiritual relationship between humans, nature, and spirits and blurs the boundaries between dreams and waking life. Interestingly, this Thai film resonates with North American Indigenous belief systems, especially the Ojibwe traditional belief in the reality of dreams and spirits. Also, the Thai government’s treatment of the soldiers and the land in the film can be linked to other governments’ unjust treatment of Indigenous people and the over-extraction of natural resources. Cemetery of Splendor, in light of Ojibwe thought, tells us we must see the world as a whole—past and future, animate and inanimate, dreaming and awake.