Syndromes and a Century


Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Syndromes and a Century แสงศตวรรษ is really two films—with overlapping (but different) characters and dialog—set in two different locations. Below are pictures of the scene of a dentist and his patient (a Buddhist monk) from each of the two films.



In many ways these two pictures sum up what makes this such a powerful film. It is a reflection on space and light and location. In the first film the dentist sings a song to his patient while cleaning his teeth. In the second film the patient struggles to remove the head covering which he finds uncomfortable. It is not a film that is naive about rural life, which is shown to have its own problems—people worry about money and relationships. But it is a reflection on how space and light and location affect the nature of human relationships. The film doesn’t have any single plot or story line tying everything together, but the individual scenes are so richly observed that the film is deeply enjoyable.