‘Cemetery’ Review: Elephant Walk – Gadget Clock

By | November 18, 2020
‘Cemetery’ Review: Elephant Walk – Gadget Clock

‘Cemetery’ Overview: Elephant Stroll – Gadget Clock

Combining documentary, fiction and elaborate soundscapes right into a uniquely experimental entire, the Spanish filmmaker Carlos Casas opens his newest movie, “Cemetery,” with an on-screen description of the parable of the elephant graveyard, a trove of ivory lengthy sought by poachers.

After killing all however one elephant, the legend goes, poachers braved jungle and rivers, mountains and ravines, to comply with this survivor to his closing resting place. Utilizing this story as his template, Casas drops us into the Sri Lankan jungle to accompany the elephant and his mahout on their perilous journey.

Divided into 4 chapters and unfolding with minimal dialogue, “Cemetery” is primarily a sluggish and lovingly detailed immersion within the sights and sounds of the jungle and the mahout’s devoted consideration to his animal. Melding myriad trills, screeches, and roars, Chris Watson’s mesmerizing sound design (he repeatedly works with David Attenborough) joins Benjamín Echazarreta’s lush imagery to create a soothing, virtually somnolent sensory blanket. A silvery spider’s internet, dangling in foliage like a security internet for falling leaves or acrobatic bugs, is as absorbing because the close-ups of the large beast itself — majestic reminders of its prehistoric ancestry.

Because the poachers shut in, the film shifts gears and, in a nod to early journey tales (Rudyard Kipling and Edgar Rice Burroughs are amongst these thanked within the credit), barrels towards its fantastical conclusion. Shot within the Atacama Desert in Chile, this ending — with its inky pauses and allusive, dashing grey shapes — suffers most from the intense limitations of house viewing. The result’s a maddeningly obscured finale to a film that’s each a hymn to custom and a lament for ongoing species destruction.

Cemetery
Not rated. In Sinhalese and English, with subtitles. Operating time: 1 hour 25 minutes. Watch on Mubi.

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