Syndromes and a Century’s working title was Intimacy. But the final title still refers to it. For Apichatpong, who is always exceptionally attentive to amorous urges, regards love as a syndrome. After telling the story of a breakup, he wanted to tell the story of how his parents, both doctors, got to meet in some hospital in Thailand, in the small town of Khon Kaen, where he was born and where his mother still lives. “The more I progressed, the more I was thinking that what we were shooting had little to do with the word ‘intimacy’. The edited film looked like a moving vehicle… Hence the idea of ‘century’.” The more we get into Syndromes, the more the film broadens its lens to take in a people and a country. Not unlike Tropical Malady, it finishes half-way through to start afresh from another place, shifting in the process from some regional health centre to a high-tech hospital, whilst keeping the same actors and reiterating some scenes. The jungle that bordered the place has gone, to be replaced by building sites. But the same concern remains: to lavish or expect care. The film bounds up affect to the century, connects music to health, and enduring sentiments to changing cityscapes: the future towards which Syndromes turns is that of a people finding its cohesiveness with love and ointment, in the caring of souls and bodies.
Antoine Thirion, Cahiers du cinéma, June 2007
- Grand Prix of Honor