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Filming kicked off in Colombia on August 19 for Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Tilda Swinton-led “Memoria,” the filmmaker’s first feature to be shot outside his home country.

Germany’s The Match Factory, which has represented several of Weerasethakul’s  previous films on the international market including 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” will do so again on “Memoria,” and have shared with Variety exclusive first images of Weerasethakul and Swinton on set.

Filling out the international cast for the film are César and San Sebastian best actress award-winner Jeanne Balibar (“Late August, Early September,” “Barbara”), Daniel Gimenez Cacho – star of Lucrecia Martel’s 2018 Argentine Oscar submission “Zama,” Colombian TV star Juan Pablo Urrego and “Surviving Escobar’s” Elkin Diaz.

The eight-week shoot will split time between the mountain village of Pijao and the Colombian capital, Bogota.

While on vacation in Colombia, Weerasethakul was struck by the country’s natural beauty, juxtaposed with its violent past. The idea for “Memoria” was quick to take root.

Inspired, the filmmaker stayed three months in the country preparing his script. He was particularly struck by a century-long construction project to tunnel through the Andes mountain range, which plays an integral role in the film’s plot.

In the film, Swinton plays an orchid farmer visiting her ill sister in Bogota. While there, she befriends a French archaeologist (Balibar) in charge of monitoring the construction project and a young musician (Diaz).

Each night, she is bothered by increasingly loud bangs which prevent her from getting any sleep.

“There’s something that has drawn me here,” said Weerasethakul from Colombia, just before shooting began. “I am not quite sure what. It is a personal earthquake, a quiet madness. I am convinced that once I start shooting this film, I will sleep better.”

“Memoria” is produced by Weerasethakul’s Kick the Machine, Burning, Illuminations Films (Past Lives), Anna Sanders Films, Match Factory Productions and Piano Producciones. The Match Factory has also confirmed to Variety that Jia Zangke’s Xstream, the Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation and Bord Cadre Films have signed on as co-producers.

Memoria is also co-produced by Xstream, Rediance, ZDF/Arte, Bord Cadre Films, Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation, Schortcut Films, Louverture Films and 185 Films.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Adam Zoller Photo credit: Courtesy of Adam Zoller

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