Archive for the ‘Syndromes and a Century’ Category

Syndromes and a Century – review – Film Comment #4

Film Comment – #4 – Syndromes and a Century – Apichatpong Weerasethakul 2006


For the next three films I chose films by the same director, who has his first three fiction films on this list at #’s 4, 8, and 39 an impressive feat. “Syndromes and a Century” is billed as part one comedy, part two science fiction fantasy. I knew this is one I needed to check out.

The film begins with an interview taking place for a position as a new doctor in a hospital. This hospital is in the countryside, as we are shown by the lush green images before us. The main patients are townspeople and a legion of monks as well. The doctors, and dentists take care of their patients, offering medicine and advice to them, but also learn from their patients as well, especially the monks. There are some humorous moments as some doctors trust in the methods of the monks sometimes more than the monks trust theirs.

Part 2 of the film opens the exact same way, with the exact same dialogue as part one, although this time the setting is within a modern office building. The film then precedes to have the same scenes occur, but the outcomes are just a bit different.

Syndromes is an interesting study in how environment, science, and the modern world affect the way in which people interact with each other. Science vs. nature, the old world vs. the new world, technology vs. humanity are all examined in the two halves we are presented with. It is this examination that makes it a very unique film, and definitely one worth watching if you feel like an intellectual study.

Grade: B