films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Ten Years Thailand

2018 / 95m - Thailand
Drama, Sci-fi, Fantasy - Anthology
Ten Years Thailand poster

Third entry in the Ten Years anthology franchise, also the best one. The problem with the Ten Years anthologies is that most of the entries don't care too much about the overarching concept. While artistic freedom is definitely welcomed, especially in anthology projects, some base level sci-fi (even when it's just near-future) would be dearly appreciated.

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Assarat and Weerasethakul's shorts could just as well be about present-day Thailand. There are some conceptual ideas about the future here (though hardly related to any kind of realistic future), but there is no world building, no genre elements. It feels a bit lazy and cheap, but not totally unexpected considering the past work of both directors.

The films of Siriphol and Sasanatieng are polar opposites and cook up a completely fantastical future. While still a long way off from the core premise, at least these films are creative and fun, with Sasanatieng's creepy/weird cat-dystopia as the clear highlight of the anthology. By far the two best short across the entire Ten Years franchise, but still not quite what I'd like to see from this project. Maybe just hire some directors with an affinity for the genre next tim?

Tropical Malady

Sud Pralad
2004 / 118m - Thailand
Drama, Fantasy
Tropical Malady poster

Syndromes and a Century

Sang Sattawat
2006 / 105m - Thailand
Syndromes and a Century poster

It's been quite a while since I last watched a Weerasethakul film. While there's clear potential there, Weerasethakul's style is quite specific and appeals to a very particular niche of film fans. There's an overlap with my taste, but it's fickle and it seems to be diminishing over time. Syndromes and a Century is one of Weerasethakul's earlier films, so I figured I could give it a shot.

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The film is split in two distinct parts. One is set in an old, rural and homely hospital, the other in a very modern, urban hospital facility. There seems to be an overlap in characters, stories and events, with each setting having a slightly different effect on the scenes that play out. That's just not the premise, that's the entire plot right there.

Weerasethakul is all about mood and whenever there's a soundtrack present he nails it. The score is amazing and works well with the slow, meandering visuals, but whenever the music fades away, so does the atmosphere. The cinematography feels too unpolished to carry the film by itself, which is my biggest complaint. The plot and characters aren't very interesting either, then again that's not really what Weerasethakul's films are about. There are some very strong and captivating scene here, it just isn't very consistent.

The Adventures of Iron Pussy

Hua Jai Tor Ra Nong
2003 / 90m - Thailand
The Adventures of Iron Pussy poster

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chat
2010 / 114m - Thailand
Drama, Fantasy
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives poster

I'm a big fan of anthologies, and this project sounded very promising on paper. Seventy renowned directors give their vision on the future of cinema. With just one minute per short, there isn't much time to make a point, but it's disheartening to see how few of them even managed to stick to the topic.

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The saddest part was that many of the short didn't even deal with the future, but openly referred to or praised the medium's past. There's also a lot of doom and gloom, with some very basic visions of people not caring enough about arthouse cinema, or playing movies on their phones. Your typical old-man-yelling-at-cloud stuff.

There is only a small selection of directors who seem to have understood the brief, and they struggle to make the most of their limited runtime. What remains is a complete mess, with most shorts looking like they were made on people's afternoon off, and hardly anything that stands out. A disappointment.