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the director -- named Jang Hyun-seong(25)

Time:2018-03-08 00:04Shoes websites Click:

Pusan film ind Korean Film SOUTH KOREA film festivals

But this bit of dialogue also validates what I've found seeping underneath Hur's films: a problematic catharsis for the so-called 'nice guy'. This all goes back to what Hur said during a discussion after a screening of One Fine Spring Day at the San Francisco Asian-American International Film Festival where he claimed from his privileged male position that South Korean women have forgotten the importance of family. This proclamation had me receive the ending of One Fine Spring Day with less finery. It had me noticing how, to represent this 'family forgetfulness' in his women, each of his films includes a male character who is mother-less. And when I looked back at Christmas In August for the umpteenth time, I noticed something I had missed during all my previous viewings. The ex-lover who jilted our main character was placed into an abusive relationship within the narrative, leaving it open for the reasonable argument that she was receiving her 'just' punishment for not receiving the 'nice guy' when he desired her. Through his narratives, Hur demonstrates the revenge that simmers underneath every jilted nice guy, except rather than holding that anger and letting it dissipate, Hur continues to provide catharsis for the bad-guy-within that shadows the nice guy, the bad guy within the nice guy who seeks to lash out at the women who, for whatever reason, choose not to be with them. This desire for revenge comes full surface in April Snow when Seo-young asks In-su what he wants to do when his wife awakes form her coma. His answer is simple, "Get Revenge."

Hur can think whatever he wants about women who either expect more from their men and families or desire all the privileges afforded men, but by insisting on presenting this view as a Vengeance For Mr. Sympathy, I have to say that this is a gift I'd refuse regardless of the time of year when it's presented, in August or in April. It is this cathartic need that ends up tainting all the beauty that otherwise abounds in Hur's oeuvre. As a result of this underlying theme, what were otherwise touching stories about unattainable love risk becoming the opposite, tales about subtly executed revenge.

I truly didn't want this theory about Hur's films validated. I was hoping that April Snow would diverge from Hur's previous works in this regard. But sadly, like the seasons, this is a harmful theme that Hur keeps cycling back to.      ()


Much was said about Lee Myung-se's critically acclaimed Nowhere To Hide regarding how Lee reported to have researched the movement of footballers for the film. This could have been taken with mounds of grains of salt as perhaps further PR for a country that was about to co-host the World Cup in 2002 or simply an excuse to go and watch a bunch of great football matches. If I could write off on my taxes a visit to Europe to tour different football clubs as research, heck, I would. But Lee wasn't just talking out of his publicist here. It was clear from what he brought to our screens that how our bodies move as isolated atoms or in concert with other bodies was foremost in his mind.


And movement takes precedent in Duelist as well, which has brought both greater praise to Lee and laments that he's forgotten to tell a story. There is a story here. The film takes place in a non-realist rendition of the Chosun dynasty. Nam-soon ( - Phone, Sex Is Zero, and the TV Drama Damo) and Ahn ( - It might be easier to say what film the exemplary Ahn has not been in, but let's just drop that he was the villain in Lee's Nowhere To Hide and the son in the classic The Housemaid by Kim Ki-young) are detectives who happen upon a counterfeit ring of the ringed coins minted at this time in Korea's longer unified history. The conspiracy implicates some high-ranking officials and as the investigation develops, so does the love between the seething, tom-boyish Nam-soon and the dashing, femininely-chiseled masculinity of Sad Eyes (Gang Dong-won - Too Beautiful To Lie and Too Many TV Dramas To Mention). That's really the gist of the story. If that's not enough, you are going to hate this film.

But if you were fascinated with how Lee orchestrated emotions out from hiding behind the shells of bodies in Nowhere To Hide, you will be equally treated to a visual concert that will send you home with dreamy images of bodies in chaos and control. Most striking is the crane-like mating ritual between Nam-soon and Sad Eyes. They pause, lurk, and flail, each with equal parts passion and discipline. Nam-soon and Sad Eyes have a lovely way of showing the respect, fear, and love they have for each other without much dialogue and plot. And the fact that Lee flips the gender code switch by coupling female masculinity with metrosexuality makes it all the more endearing and fascinating to watch. I found uncontrollable smiles creeping up on my face throughout this film. Many historical films intend to convey the sense of time past, but all films are influenced by the time within which they are made. In its purposely non-realist portrayal, Duelist's gender dance doesn't intend to represent the time of the Chosun Dynasty, but a subset of the gender politics of this time in South Korea's history, where newly empowered young women defend their desires with emerging young men who seek an equally liberating space for their fluxing selves.

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