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NYFF: “Syndromes and a Century.”

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"Do you think that we have met in a past life?"
It doesn’t seem fair to fit words to Apichatpong Weerasethakul‘s heady "Syndromes and a Century," which stops short of the fever dream logic of his 2004 "Tropical Malady," but still dwells in a preternatural world outside any traditional narrative context. The film is inspired by Weerasethakul’s parents, both doctors, and the childhood he spent in a hospital environment. Like "Tropical Malady," it’s split into to two parts that have no direct causal bearing on each other — the first half takes place at a languid rural hospital and follows the female Dr. Toey, while the second restarts the story with all of the characters now working in a sleekly modern urban facility, and this time tracks the male Dr. Nohng. The stories (as they are) rapidly part ways, though echoes between the two continue: A statue of Buddha, the image of a looming dark circle, a monk who tries to treat his doctor, an unappreciated gift, the line "Man or woman?"

Weerasethakul has an amazing ability to imbue the most mundane of scenes with an inscrutable sense of mystery, in part because the camera’s gaze seems to lend everything weight. "Syndromes and a Century" is beautifully, self-consciously shot, with the camera at times drifting out to landscapes as if distracted, while conversations continue out of sight, or in another shot backing off at the direct gaze of a particular character. It implies a point of view that ultimately must belong to the director — the initial part of the film, at least, is a patchwork of reminiscences (including a flashback that consumes the story with no further signal, memory being just as vivid as the assumed present) that has the warm patina of nostalgia.

Screens October 7 at Alice Tully Hall.

+ "Syndromes and a Century" (NYFF)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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