35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive
Thursday, May 17 | 8 pm
Inspired by director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s memories of growing up with two physician parents, Syndromes and a Century presents two visually and tonally distinct variations on a single narrative theme. The film’s first half unfolds in a small hospital in rural Thailand, where medical staff spend their days in consultation with monks and farmers and their nights pursuing shy romances and singing Karaoke versions of Thai country songs. The second half, which repurposes much of the same dialogue and story structure, relocates the film to a sleek hospital in urban Bangkok, where an air of sci-fi inflected foreboding replaces the previous section’s low-key conviviality. Reflecting the dual nature of contemporary Thailand, where a traditional rural culture steeped in Buddhist folklore exists alongside hypermodern technology and rapid urban development, the film’s elegant two-part structure resonates with tantalizing echoes, associations, and affinities, while eschewing easy answers or explanations.
Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul | 2006 | In Thai with English subtitles | 105 minutes | NR | 35mm