Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nantarat Sawaddikul, Jaruchai Iamaram, Nu Nimsomboon, Sophon Pukanok, Jenjira Pongpas, Arkanae Cherkam, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Sin Kaewpakpin, Apirak Mitrpracha, Manasanant Porndispong, Wanna Wattanajinda, Nitipong Tintupthai, Putthithorn Kammak, Jarunee Saengtupthim
Written by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Directed by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Thai with English subtitles
Running Time: 105
Date: 08/31/2006

Syndromes and a Century (2007)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Calling Dr. Love

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's fourth feature film is, like his previous Tropical Malady, divided into two parts. The two halves are dedicated to the director's mother and father, more or less recounting their meeting while working in a Thailand hospital. Each half is presented through the haze of memory, and certain conversations and sequences play out with slight differences, depending on how each character remembers it. Weerasethakul -- also known as "Joe" -- has become less and less dependent on narrative, relying instead on emotional impressions and rhythms (and even a few deadpan laughs). Some scenes echo one another, while others go off in entirely new directions, and few events spring logically from one another. Like Ozu, Weerasethakul employs many still, sustained shots and leaves the camera rolling for a few beats after the scene is "finished." He also makes curious choices from time to time, moving away from the action to a character watching or buffering his scenes with shots of statues. But it's a film that stays with you and deserves revisiting.

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