After a devastating earthquake, Nga, an old elephant, and Sanra his mahout are about to embark on a journey to find the mythical elephant’s graveyard. A group of poachers are secretly following them. They will die one after another, under mysterious circumstances and spells, while the spectator will become the only protagonist, on an audiovisual journey into the cemetery and beyond.
“Cemetery is an exploratory film divided in three parts, three visions and three ways of understanding audiovisual experience. [...] The first part is mainly focused on the voice, and the elephants’ sonic world, the second focus is on natural sounds, and the third will be music. […] This second part is a collaboration with sound recording artist Chris Watson. And a collage of sounds from different locations around the world, a collision of field recordings from the most amazing locations and places.”
“Cemetery is een experimentele film in drie delen, drie visies en drie manieren om de audiovisuele ervaring te begrijpen. [...] Het eerste deel is voornamelijk gericht op de stem en de geluidswereld van de olifant. De tweede focus is natuurlijk geluid, en de derde wordt muziek. (…) Dit tweede deel is een samenwerking met geluidskunstenaar Chris Watson. Een collage van geluiden uit verschillende delen van de wereld, een clash tussen opnames op de meest fantastische locaties en plaatsen.”
“Drifting between observational documentary-like forms, homages to adventure films and experiments drawing from artist moving image practice, Spanish filmmaker and visual artist Carlos Casas’s shapeshifting film Cemetery charts the movements of Nga, a Sri Lankan elephant travelling to the mythical elephants’ graveyard as the world outside begins to collapse under the spell of natural disaster. Set into motion by Casas’s desire to better understand the myth he frequently saw in adventure films as a child, Cemetery is a deeply researched film that incorporates the stories, traditions, and pieces of mythology that Sri Lankan mahouts (figures who look after elephants) imparted upon him into a three-part narrative, with the elephant as the central protagonist, and largely taking place in the amorphous space of the jungle.”
- 1Andrew Northrop, “Reimagining an Elephant: Discussing Cemetery with Carlos Casas,” MUBI Notebook, 8 October 2019.