Quick-Thoughts: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and a Century (2006)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul Marathon Part IV of VI

“I like meeting a wide variety of people… to see faces come and go.” 

Apichatpong Weerasethakul once again taps into some of the endless possibilities that cinema has to dilate on, but uses them this time around as a playful vessel to reconceive the aura of his two creators — mom and dad, and the origin for which they’re about to become such. Just like Tropical Malady (2004), the auteur divides the film into two very distinct segments: one that takes place in a rural and one in an urban hospital. Curiously, the urban segment acts out almost like a revision of the rural, but with a focus on Dr. Nohng (Joe’s father) rather than Dr. Toey (Joe’s mother), and, to an unorthodox extent, not necessarily on their relationship but the relationships of those around them for which they encounter, the fleeting bodies that had the potential to fit in each other’s impending parental roles yet at the least wind up making valuable marks in their journey getting their whether that be from the rejection turned nurturing of one-sided lovers or sick young, even old, patients. Doctors and parents 🤝.

There’s also a conjoined side-plot with a dentist who can sing and some monks that I doubt anyone will mind because it’s so pure and endearing. Watching natural and industrial complexes, religious and scientific remedies coexist and exchanged peacefully is just hella therapeutic too.

And that finale??? Consider me baffled in the best way possible. Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s cinematography has only gotten more and more immersive and Fez by Neil & Iraiza is an absolute banger. The enigmatic symbolism has me blissfully stumped!

Verdict: B+

Apichatpong Weerasethakul Ranked

“Syndromes and a Century” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

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