This is my fifth Imamura film viewed at MIFF and I feel like I'm just starting to get a handle on 'where he's at'. Intentions of Murder has many trademarks of Imamura, such as people struggling at the bottom of the social foodchain, adultery, treachery, sex and violence. The protagonist is not a classic beauty nor a powerless victim, but a feisty and large-framed woman who fights back. In contrast, the men in her life appear like weak-willed weasles.
What I like about Imamura is his matter-of-fact depictions of struggle, a theme I find connects people through the medium of film. It is the one thing, perhaps more than any other, that unites people of all different races, gender, political persuasions and social standing. While all people struggle, but in different ways, it is easier to depict among the lower social orders - the middle and upper classes are more able to give an air of being free from struggle.
Syndromes and a Century (Sang sattawat, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France/Austria, 2006)
This film was preceded by a significant amount of online buzz. Perhaps my expectations were too high, or perhaps I've seen too many contemplative Asian films at MIFF. Syndromes and a Century is a nice, poetic film that is visually pleasing, observational and (I suspect) some meanings that may have eluded me. But it just didn't engage me.
The film is semi-autobiographical, based on the director's childhood recollections of living in a hospital - his parents were both doctors. I find it remarkable that this completely inoffensive film is banned in its native Thailand. I'd be interested to revisit this some time in the future, away from the blitz of festival films.