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Syndromes and a Century

September 9, 2010

Syndromes and a Century (2006)
Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Actors: Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon (350×175)

Synopsis: Memories of life in and around a Thai hospital….

Review: Where to begin with this intensely enigmatic, daydream of a movie, that seems more like fragments of memories than an actualised narrative? For what it’s worth, the story is split into two (the first half detailing a Thai hospital and its inhabitants in a rural, antiquated location; the second half kind of mirroring those elements, but in a contemporary, high-tech urban hospital). This structure would seem to invite a reading of thematic allusions and echoes, but even that does Weerasethakul a disservice. Ideas of Buddhism and reincarnation (that I confess, I know little of) seem to float around the fringes of the on-screen action, but I take the film more as a disavowal of any kind of rational interpretation. Simply pay homage to Weerasethakul’s sensualised gaze and ear for faces, voices, nature, architecture, music and wind –  and submit. (September 2010)

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