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Syndromes and a Century (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on June 23, 2012

I was going to say it’s been too long since I first watched this film.  But spacing out the viewings makes the surprises that much more enjoyable, when you’ve forgotten they’re coming.  And Syndromes is a movie filled with endless surprises.  You get the feeling that Weerasethakul enjoyed the hell out of making it.  You sense his delight in every decision, every happy accident.  And there’s as much delight in absorbing it.  Delights in individual moments, like the dentist singing to his monk patient, or the bizarre interview questions, or an actor “realizing” his mike is still on long after he’s left the frame, or smoke swirling into and out of and around that black hole/eclipse vent thing.  Delight in the lush greenery of the first half and the eerily sterile second half.  Delight in the delight the characters take in each other.  Delight in examining the echoes between the two halves of the film, some of them so subtle or tenuous that they may be unintentional.  Delight in asking “Why?”… and further delight in letting go of “Why?” and giving in to the joyous creativity and originality of the work.  So rich and dense without ever beating you over the head with it.  Nothing is ponderous or aching to be profound.

I don’t want to analyze.  I do, but that’s in my head, that’s for me.  I don’t know if Joe has a mission statement for this film.  I’d like to think he does but wants you to believe he doesn’t.  Or vice versa.  Certainly there are meanings to be gained… the delicate harmony between man and nature, past and present is a recurring theme in his work.  You can do whatever you want with this movie, that’s for you.  That’s what makes it so gorgeously wonderful, so playfully slippery.  Such a refreshing tonic.  Rating: Masterpiece


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