unexpected character configurations

Some quick observations about character interactions in Syndromes and a Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2006): It’s there in the way that Dr. Nohng uncovers and studies the tattoo just below the collarbone of the sullen young man suffering from carbon monoxide poisoining; the same could be said about the loose, casual banter between a dentist who after hours is an accomplished musician and a young Buddhist monk who once wished to be a DJ. Ditto the comfortable, sun-dappled picnic shared by Dr. Toa and Pa Jane.

None of these sequences are necessarily erotic, but there’s something rather charged about them which produces an interesting effect as all three probably convey a greater degree of intimacy and personal understanding than we ever witness between members of the opposite sex (except perhaps the completely sexless reminiscing between Dr. Nohng and elderly Dr. Wan). What this means I have no idea, but I think it’s interesting to note that the central, elusive relationship with homoerotic undertones in Tropical Malady is carried over and multiplied less overtly several times over in Syndromes and a Century. Isn’t that, well, a bit odd considering the film was inspired by the courtship of the directors parents?

Representative images of interaction:

As opposed to:

Do you see the difference I see?

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