Carlos Casas

IndieLisboa 2020 •

France, United Kingdom, Poland, Uzbekistan, Documentary, 2019, 85′

Nga is a tired and old elephant. Sanra, his faithful guide. This could be the beginning of a Disney film. But no. Is this a slow-motion adventure film? Casas will transform the spectator’s gaze into the impassive and serene look of the elephant. It is a journey where man and animal will look for the mythical elephant cemetery, where Nga can finish his days. But this is above all a cosmological film about death, reincarnation and the hypothesis of the non-human.

Cemetery follows the path of Nga, a Sri Lankan elephant who begins a journey to the sacred elephant cemetery, as planet Earth collapses at the hand of natural catastrophes. In a slow-motion adventure, nature ceases to be the backdrop of human life, and becomes the sensitive, thinking entity that communicates through the sound and visual matter of the film. The radio reports that a violent earthquake has devastated Asia, killing thousands of peo­ple. From here, the film begins a three-part journey towards a cosmological understanding of space after the calamity and the consequent extinction of species. Finding the elephant cemetery, plunging into darkness, means starting a kind of rebirth. Themes such as death, reincarnation, immortality are addressed, but also memory, colonialism and the collapse of civilization.


Cemetery is an odyssey about the unknown, the unexplored, this elephant cemetery – per­haps a kind of shangri la. (Inês Lima Torres)