The arrival of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria has been one of the film events of the year. Six years after 2015’s Cemetery of Splendour, the filmmaker has returned to the big screen with his first feature set outside Thailand and his first collaboration with a bona fide movie star: Tilda Swinton.

Swinton plays a British visitor in Colombia who finds herself afflicted with exploding head syndrome—a condition that causes her to hear mysterious and sudden booming sounds. Apichatpong and Swinton turn this uncanny premise into an elusive and elliptical exploration of alienation, the slippery nature of communication, and the specters of history.

During the New York Film Festival last fall, Film Comment editors Devika Girish and Clinton Krute sat down with the director and the actress to chat about their collaboration, the autobiographical origins of the film, and Apichatpong’s interest in re-enchantment through cinema.

For more on Memoria, read Imogen Sara Smith’s essay from the Film Comment Letter.