Syndromes and a Century
Apichatpong Weerasethakul / Thailand / 2006
Wednesday, March 23rd, 8PM @ The Cannery, 168 Hunter St. W.
Syndromes and a Century is at once lush and minimalist, abstract and humanist. It recalls, at times, avant-garde works such as Chantal Akerman’s Hotel Monterey, which consisted of shots of the interior of a New York City hotel, slowly rising in a crescendo to the hotel’s rooftop, showing the aura of the spaces even in their lack of human presence. Weerasethakul’s film, while not foregoing narrative (and that narrative not foregoing humour and romance), likewise makes its spaces breathe. It consists of two distinct halves. The first is set around a hospital in the Thai countryside, and the second, a hospital in Bangkok. Interestingly, the two halves do not diametrically oppose one another. The same humanity is exhibited in the sterile city environment as in the organic rural one. But difference makes itself seen as well: certain connections, certain types of contact occur in one but not the other. The differences in behaviour that the different places effect are subtle yet profound in terms of the way that the lives of the characters, who are the same (or at least played by the same actors and working in the same occupations) in both parts of the film, play out. While it is difficult to convey the visual beauty of the film in a written format, it surely shows through in direct experience, and so we urge you to come and witness it for yourself.