Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Sang sattawat / Syndromes and a Century

TH/AT/FR © 2006 Kick the Machine Films. EX: Keith Griffiths, Simon Field. P+D+SC: Apichatpong Weerasethakul. DP: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom – väri – 1,85:1. PD: Akekarat Homlaor. Songs: Kantee [Gandhi] Anantagant. S: Koichi Shimizu, Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr – Dolby SRD. ED: Lee Chatametikool. Featuring: Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon, Noom, Sophon Pukanok, Jenjira Pongpas, Arkanae Cherkam, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Sin Kaewpakpin, Norathep Panyanavakij, Apirak Mitpracha, Manasanant Porndispong. 105 min. A New Crowned Hope (Vienna) production. A Fortissimo print with English subtitles by Elvira de Majo viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (The Best of the Decade), 2 Nov 2010.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's films have been seen in Finland in festivals only, and this was my first encounter with his work. This is a serene, meditative film inspired by the director's childhood memories as a child of a family where the parents were doctors in a small town. The location is a hospital, the takes are long, and there is a lot of ambient sound. The presence of Buddhist monks, statues in the garden, and wild orchids is prominent. Themes of chakra healing and reincarnation are playfully discussed. There are moments of love, reciprocal and unrequited. Final images include thick smoke being absorbed into a ventilation pipe in the basement and a joyful communal calisthenics happening in the park. It will take a while to digest this film. Although according to the end credits there are digital effects in this film the image in the print had a lively photochemical feeling.

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