Five Movies To Watch When You’re Done With “Memoria”

Five Movies To Watch When You’re Done With “Memoria”

Five Movies To Watch When You’re Done With “Memoria”

The 2021 drama fantasy film Memoria, written, directed, and co-produced by filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is described by many as a sensorial cinematic experience. In a review by Independent, they described the film by saying, “Memoria defies all explanation, resembling a magical mystery tour of the subconsciousness more than a narrative film. If anything, it’s a living deja vu. Or the closest cinema can get to that disquieting sensation of meeting someone you’re convinced you’ve encountered before” The internationally co-produced film which was selected as the Columbian entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards stars Tilda Swinton, Elkin Díaz, Jeanne Balibar, Juan Pablo Urrego, and Daniel Giménez Cacho. The plot centers on Jessica, a Scottish woman living in Medellin, Colombia who visits her ill sister in Bogota where she starts having a mysterious experience. One night, she is awoken by a loud sound in her sleep and she tries to uncover the mysteries of the strange sound. The film received generally positive reviews and Swanton’s performance in the film garnered praise from critics. In a film review by Roger Ebert, he wrote, “ She is mesmerizing in how she plays unsettled more than panicked. Some actresses would have leaned into the relative insanity of Jessica’s predicament, but Swinton carries it in a concerned look or a tightened posture.” Memoria is the type of film that leaves you with ambiguous thoughts and feelings and varying interpretations. If you like Memoria and would like to explore similar films, here are five of our recommendations.

Blissfully Yours

The Thai romance film Blissfully Yours by the same director Apichatpong Weerasethakul shares a similar tone with Memoria and also features some themes about displacement. As Indie Wire described the film, “Memoria” is more meditation than movie, a transfixing deep-dive into the profound challenges of relating to people and places from the outside in.” Blissfully Yours centers on three characters; Min an immigrant in Thailand, his girlfriend Roong, and an older woman named Orn who is helping the couple. When Roong develops a mysterious rash on his body, he is accompanied by Roong and Orn and pretends to be unable to speak in order to cover up his status as an illegal immigrant. The film received generally positive reviews and it t won the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. In a review published by Eye for Film, they praised the film’s creativity saying, “Even if the result is merely head-scratching and bemusement when much of Thai cinema revolves around factory line melodramas, it is refreshing to see directors such as Weerasethakul and Pen-ek Ratanaruang (the mesmerizing Last Life In The Universe) try to work outside of the box.”

Syndromes and a Century

Another creative output from the director is his film Syndromes and a Century which centers on themes of transformation. The movie is told in two parts and the plot follows Dr. Nohng’s experiences working in a rural clinic in Thailand and a medical center in Bangkok. In a review published by The Guardian, they describe the film’s distinctive material saying “If you want a film as challenging and exhilarating as the most weird and wonderful exhibition at Tate Modern if you are bored with all the usual boilerplate material coming out of Hollywood, or even if you’re not, then this is a film for you. Try it.”

Horse Girl

The 2020 American psychological drama film Horse Girl also involves a journey inwards just like Memoria. The film is directed and produced by Jeff Baena, from a screenplay by Baena and Alison Brie who also stars in the film in the lead role. The cast also includes Debby Ryan, John Reynolds, Molly Shannon, John Ortiz, and Paul Reiser. The film follows socially awkward Sarah who struggles with her perception of reality as she faces difficulty differentiating her dreams from reality. Horse Girl creates a narrative of how one’s mental health deteriorates through Sarah’s eyes. In a review published by Variety, they praised Baena and Brie’s storytelling and wrote, “The transgressiveness of Baena and Brie’s strange and sorrowful “Horse Girl,” is in how it turns the simplistic, inauthentic tweeness of the generic, quirky indie comedy in on itself to produce a rare and piercingly compassionate exploration of the sorts of madness that come from intense loneliness, and the intense loneliness that comes from being regarded as mad.”


The 2019 psychological thriller film Swallow written and directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis follows a woman who develops a compulsive behavior to consume non-food items as she struggles with her domestic life. The film stars Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche, and Denis O’Hare. Similar to Memoria, watching the film involves a lot of metaphors and ambiguity. In a review by Vulture, they analyzed the film’s genre saying, “There’s a type of devoted fan who wouldn’t consider Swallow horror at all, though that’s what it is, at heart. It’s about a woman sleepwalking toward doom, even if that doom doesn’t involve the supernatural or a knife-wielding slasher.”

The Machinist

Both protagonists of Memoria and The Machinist struggle with sleep but are bombarded by differing elements. The 2004 psychological thriller film The Machinist directed by Brad Anderson with a screenplay by Scott Kosar stars Christian Bale in the lead role and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, John Sharian, and Michael Ironside in supporting roles. The plot centers on a machinist named Trevor Reznik who has been struggling with insomnia for a year. This leads to the deterioration of his physical and mental health in which he experiences paranoia and delusions. The film received critical acclaim and high praise for Bale’s performance who committed to the role by losing around 62 pounds. New York Times wrote a review of the film and praised Bale’s performance in the film saying, “Mr. Bale’s appearance is the crowning touch that makes “The Machinist,” directed by Brad Anderson (“Session 9”) from a screenplay by Scott Kosar, one of the few movies to scale the barrier between chilly fantasy and authentic cinematic nightmare. The actor backs up his stunt with a performance that builds to a pinnacle of savage fury and desperation.”Christian Bale

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