(aka "Sang sattawat" or "Intimacy" or "Intimacy and Turbulence ")

 

directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Thailand / France / Austria 2006

 

A film in two parts which sometimes echo each other. The two central characters are inspired by the filmmaker's parents, in the years before they became lovers. The first part focuses on a woman doctor, and is set in a space reminiscent of the world in which the filmmaker was born and raised. The second part focuses on a male doctor, and is set in a more contemporary space much like the world in which the filmmaker presently lives. Pearls of wisdom, descriptions of syndromes and fragments of time crystallize in luminous atmospheres and dot the modern architecture of the film, creating a charming, quiet incantation.

SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY was one of seven films commissioned for the Weiner Mozart New Crowned Hope Festival, Vienna 2006.

****

Really, he won’t bite. Syndromes and a Century, Weerasethakul’s latest, is actually kind of funny. He’s made that most uncool of things: a film about his parents, who evidently met at a rustic medical clinic outside Bangkok (both are doctors). But in a welcome spirit of playfulness, his movie is far from sentimental, the preromantic acquaintance unfurling in a botched interview between an attending doctor (Sawaddikul) and her nervous new charge (Iamaram), a transplant from the military. He fumbles for answers; she barely lets on how cute she finds him. Elsewhere on the grounds, a young dentist (Cherkam) yearns to be a pop singer, and the whole compound seems to vibrate with the promise of blooming.

It’s here—about halfway through, as is the filmmaker’s wont—that things shift radically. Suddenly, we’re not among the crickets, but in a sparkling white modern facility, a touch chilly. The interview plays itself out again; indeed, many of the characters reappear in tweaked circumstances. Love springs eternal? Syndromes is too complex to characterize as a simple case of country mouse versus city mouse. Its rhymes and echoes make its folds endlessly fascinating. Try it.

Excerpt of review from Joshua Rothkopf located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 18th, 2003 - Tokyo

Reviews    More Reviews      DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Gary Tooze for the Strand Releasing Screen Caps!

(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Strand Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

BFI
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:45:36 1:41:37 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.83 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

16:9 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.0 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Strand Releasing

 

Bitrate:

 

BFI

 

Audio Thai (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Thai (Dolby Digital 2.0)

Subtitles English (burned-in) English (burned-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Strand Releasing

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: January 15th, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 12
 

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 16:9

Edition Details:
• Interview with director
• Worldly Desires: an experimental love story (Weerasethakul, 2005, 40 mins)
• Original trailer
• 28-page illustrated booklet with essays, director interview and more.

DVD Release Date: June 23rd, 2008
Keep Case

Chapters 18

 

Comments

Like several of the comparisons that I've done lately, I don't have the original DVD and will rely solely on what Gary provided.

Visuals: Both discs seem to have identical brightness levels and contrast. Similarly, they seem to have the same level of detail in the images. They part way, however, when it comes to the combing and possible edge enhancement in the Strand disc. Fortunately, the BFI edition shows no evidence of either. (Note that the BFI's listing of aspect ratio at 1.66:1 is likely wrong. My software lists it at 16:9 and the framing in the screen captures appear the same as the Strand disc, which is 1.78:1.)

Audio: After reading the Strand review, I suspect that the audio between the discs comes out more or less identical. The sound is competent at all times, and provides you with what you'd expect from Dolby Digital 2.0. Moreover, as evidenced in the first capture, in the BFI edition, the subtitles are smaller, less intrusive, and at least in this case, somewhat differently translated.

Extras: Here we get to the biggest difference between the two discs. While the Strand disc merely supplies us with a trailer, the BFI sports the same trailer and more. Here you also get an interview with Weerasethakul as well as one of his short films.

Final Thoughts: This is a wonderful film and I heartily recommend it for anyone interested in offbeat cinema. For me the choice between discs is a simple one, the BFI's release is the one to own for its more extensive extras.

 - Brian Montgomery

*****

 

ON THE STRAND: For an interlaced transfer - this looks quite stunning.  I have no evidence to support it was shot with DV but it certainly seems that way to me. I see IMdb lists as 35mm but they have frequently been known to be wrong. Strand continues to offer important films in lackluster single-layered DVD packages. This has burned in English subtitles (in a rather large font - see below). I *think* I see some edge enhancement halos but it seems quite odd (see last capture) for them to exist. On the positive the detail is exquisite, contrast strong and colors seem pretty good although perhaps a bit SD-weak. It's as brilliantly detailed as Citizen Dog (shot with a Panasonic DVCPRO-HD and also having inherent interlaced combing).

NOTE: The fanciful Norwegian says 'Re: Syndromes and a Century -- I'm 99% positive this a 35mm film. It's listed as such on Apichatpong's website (which has some behind-the-scenes photos showing what is clearly a 35mm camera) and I saw this on the big screen multiple times and there was no sign it originated on video. (Compare this to Citizen Dog, which is clearly a DV film from start to finish.) It's just another typical Strand release (the reappearance of the oversized, overstretched subtitle font...'

The audio is acceptable for the Thai dialogue which has a tendency to appear 'Indie" scattered at times - but clear enough to appreciate. No extras aside from a trailer and some Strand adverts. This is a beautiful film resonating the universality of memory and one that deserves much more for a digital presentation. Although the price seems exorbitant for such a simple, unprofessional DVD offering - the film is surely worth every penny. Recommended - and hopefully the review will inform you of the expected weaknesses (and strengths) so you may enjoy it for what it is. 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus
(
Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)
Subtitle Sample

 


(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Strand Releasing - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. BFI - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


Combing visible on the Strand Edition....
 

and Edge enhancement halos

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

BFI

Sound:

-----

Extras: BFI

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Strand Releasing

Region 0 - NTSC

BFI
Region 2 - PAL




 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!