Syndromes and a Century (2006)

Syndromes and a Century (2006)

A gentle meditation on human experience set in two hospitals

7.5

Movie

Austria, France
Thai
Drama, Romance
2006
APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL
Jaruchai Iamaram, Jenjira Pongpas, Nantarat Sawaddikul
105 min

What it's about

A story about director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s parents who were both doctors, and his memories of growing up in a hospital environment.

The take

Meditative, slow, and peppered with mysticism and subtle humour, Syndromes and a Century is a truly unique Thai drama. With a male and female doctor as the central protagonists, the story is split into two settings, in different hospitals and 40 years apart. This is not a plot-driven movie by any means. Patiently paced scenes weave together the protagonists’ memories with their current lives, in a hypnotic thread that touches on Buddhist themes as it explores the timeless human experiences of love, relationships, illness, and death.

The movie was originally intended to be a tribute to the parents of writer and director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, himself the son of physicians who worked in a hospital. Though he went on to claim that the movie took a different path eventually, it does recall the enigmatic spirit and ethereal quality of childhood memories. Despite—or maybe thanks to—the absence of narrative, Syndromes and a Century remains a beguiling watch from start to finish.

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