Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Syndromes and a Century

Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2007) [9]
There really isn't much use in trying to find a coherent story line in this film, there isn't one. What makes the film is the evocative images and meditative qualities of it. This is my first exposure to Weerasethakul but from what I've heard, convention is not one of the traits to look for in his film. He's created a film, quite frankly, that I have no real idea what it's really about (if anything) but is still something that is appealing on its visuals and endearing moments. The film is based on the courtship of Weersasethukal's parents and split into two parts. The first is in a rural hospital setting with an emphasis on the tropical setting while the second transplants essentially the same story in a modern, sterile urban environment. This split of practically the same story, down to the opening of each section, represents a sort of personality split as the first half is more from the woman's perspective and the second more of the man's. But nothing is really that simple here and I even have the feeling that none of that really matters. What works completely to the film's advantage is the moments it captures: the deadpan Q&A sections that open each half, the monk who wants to be a DJ, and most important, the simple beauty of the interaction of the characters. The film manages to reveal all the complexities and awkwardness of the beginning of a relationship but never handles it mawkishly or cynically. There isn't anything to really dig deep into here, but just taken on the surface, and being able to experience the film in moments and images make it all worthwhile. I like this film a lot but I can't really tell you anything about it. And that may be its greatest attribute.

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