03 February 2010

Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethekul, 2006, Thailand)

I've been kind of lapse the past week or so so I have a number of films to put down here. I'm going to work backwards with this batch of movies.

Last night I watched Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes and a Century after I slept through the season premiere of LOST, which I wouldn't have been able to watch anyway since neither I nor my boyfriend have cable or broadcast television hooked up in our apartments. (Fortunately my roommate is getting one of those converter boxes from his cousin this weekend so I'll just have to watch las night's episode online.)
The film itself was very lovely. I've been feeling kind of under the weather so I actually watched it in three pieces because I kept feeling really tired or falling asleep or what have you. I'd like to watch it again. Basically the film starts off in the country at a little clinic and a man interviews for a job and is told to take a note to someone else. There's a man in love with the female interviewer waiting for him in the waiting area but she's in love with an orchid grower. Then there's a dentist who sings folk music or something and both of them are shown dealing with monks. The story is basically repeated in an urban setting which I didn't recognise as taking place in a different time but Wikipedia says it's forty years later and I guess that makes sense. The clinic is now a seemingly sprawling hospital in a high rise building. There's a doctor who needs to get drunk every week before she does her show on public television, a young man who worked for a Japanese car company who has some kind of carbon monoxide poisoning syndrome, a hematologist that carries the gene for a blood disease, a woman who wants to move to some new industrial Utopia who wants her boyfriend to come with. The boyfriend may be the dentist or the hematologist but I'm not sure. I'm also not sure I understood the beloved scene of the steam or smoke or whatever. There's something kind of mesmerising about it though so even if it didn't have a strong narrative thrust it remained engaging and was pretty much lovely throughout. B+

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