Saturday, September 09, 2006

Time and Climates

At last year's festival, there was a fim called 3-Iron by Ki-duk Kim. It was getting rave reviews and I had an opportunity to go see it, but then passed. So when I heard he had another film this year, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity.

Time, 12:15 pm - Paramount 3, 9/8
Apparently there is a big obsession with plastic surgery in South Korea, where a study estimated that 50% of women in their 20s had been under the knife. The film opens with a cringing credit sequence showing several plastic surgeries actually being performed. The film centers around Se-heui (Park Ji-yeon) and her boyfriend Ji-woo (Ha Jeong-woo). Se-heui is jealous of her boyfriend eyeing other womenand feels inadequate with her "same boring old face," certain that he will leave her soon. Ji-woo is perplexed at why she can't understand that he is just "looking" but is in love with her. The next day Se-heui has disappeared. Her cell phone has been disconnected, her apartment empty. There is no goodbye note, nothing to tell Ji-woo what has happened. As the months go by, Ji-woo tries to get back in the dating scene but can't seem to forget his "lost" love. He bumps into a woman whose face is covered in bandages while on a ferry boat, senses a connection only to lose her soon after. Months later, Ji-woo falls for a waitress at the coffee shop whose name is Sae-heui, very close to his onetime g.f.'s. He then receives a note with "I love you" scribbled on it, and signed "Se-heui." Despite many clues, Ji-woo is slow on the uptake. When all is revealed, the story has one more twist in it.

This film was great. The story moved along quickly and the acting was well done. You could feel sympathy, but also pity for Se-heui in her plan to win back her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she didn't think it through before acting. Does she want Ji-woo to long for her old self or fall for the new one? This is a certainty for art houses across the country but won't play on a broader scale.

Climates, 3 pm - Ryerson, 9/8

First miss of the festival. This is a story about a couple, Nuri and Bahar, who while on vacation decide to call it quits. Nuri, who broke off the relationship, has second thoughts and looks to see if reconciliation is possible.

I knew I was in trouble in the pre-credit sequence. It last about 6 minutes, feels like 20. It has maybe two lines of dialogue, the rest of it focusing on two extended cuts of Bahar's face. Actress Ebru Ceylan does a wonderful job of expressing her character's realization that their relationship is over. The scene is of her watching her husband take photographs of ruins. You can see her go from humor, to boredom, to happiness, to sadness and finally to anger. I'm sure this was the point, but it seemed to go on too long. The director uses this approach throughout the movie. The movie is only 98 min., but seems like over two hours, b/c there is only 45 min. of actual substance. Once the couple breaks up, the rest of the movie is scene through the male Nuri's eyes. Sorry, but Nuri was the least interesting character. I kept wanting to know what was happening to Bahar, the only one with any seeming passion. I stayed till the end just to be sure Bahar was not idiotic enough to take Nuri back.

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