Most Important Film of the Decade? "Syndromes of a Century"

11/25/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Jonathan Wu

The 2006 "Syndromes of a Century" by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul recently was picked picked by the Toronto International Film Festival Cinematheque as the most important film of the decade out of a list of 54 other films.

The film was chosen by an esteemed panel of over 60 film curators, historians, archivists and programmers who have had leadership roles in the field of historical film curation and have published numerous books, essays and polemics on cinema. Members of the panel represented institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York); the British Film Institute (London); the UCLA Film & Television Archive (Los Angeles); Vancouver International Film Festival (Vancouver); Centre National de la Cinématographie (Paris); and many more.

TIFF Cinematheque's Senior Programmer, James Quandt, stated:  "Their perspective should give us a longer view of the films made in this decade, the films that should stand the test of time and be acknowledged as historically influential works in the decades to come."

Written and directed by Weerasethakul, "Syndrome of a Century" was a commissioned work for Peter Sellar's New Crowned Hope festival in Vienna to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and premiered in 2006 at the 63rd Venice Film Festival. The film is divided into two parts--the first, in a rural Thailand hospital and the second in a Bangkok medical center. The characters and dialogue in the first and second parts are basically the same, with the only changes being the setting and the outcome of the stories. Apichatpong stated in an interview that the film is about "transformation, about how people transform themselves for the better."

Upon its release in Thailand, the film created a lot controversy with the Board of Censors, who demanded the director to cut four scenes from the movie in order for it to be shown commercially. Since then, the movie has had a limited release in Thailand in which the four scenes that were cut out are shown as black-scratched film that lasted as long as the original scenes. This was done as a form of protest and to inform the Thai public about the issues censorship.

"Syndrome of a Century" beat out various other films from all around world. The most prominently represented countries from the list were France (21), USA (9), Germany (7), Taiwan (6), and Japan, China and Italy (4 each).

The list was compiled to launch the 20th anniversary celebration of TIFF Cinematheque and the top 38 films be shown in Toronto in January 2010.

Sources:  1 and 2

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  1. resly george amador said...

    so many place to learn for this movie educational and looks interesting to watch