Beautifuly executed, with a creative and restrained mise-en-scène,
falling short of being a great movie by lack of a clear message.
The film appears to be an assemblage of separate stories merely
linked by the protagonists. This multiple context gives a richer
background to the main couple crisis, without solidifying into
a satisfying conclusion. Too much aimless digressions into sub-plots
(each so interesting they could be a film subject of their own)
underdevelopped and unable to contribute to the coherence of the
main story. So we are left wondering if the film was the unfinished
chronicle of a korean couple, overwhelmed by a piling of unfortunate
coincidences and difficult topics... (identity crisis of an adopted
child, adultary, voyeurism, alcoholism violence, war crime cemetary,
North/South Korea history, eldery sexuality, terminal disease...
not to mention spoilers)
So-ri Moon impersonates an emencipated housewife, in a very different
role from Oasis, to see her talent in a more extraverted life:
a dance professor, exhibitionist who walks around naked at home,
horny and frustrated by a cheating husband, sterile mother of
an adopted son. A confused lawyer who doesn't seem to have a hold
of his own life, half noble, half evil, a weak personality inconsistant
between work and home...
The individual stories are very nice though.
All the subtext about female sexuality, young wife or old widow,
is both subversive (almost disturbing) and progressive. Notably
the scene in the grandmother's bed, subtle mise-en-scène,
with few words and all in the position of the bodies.
The voyeur/age-difference story is delicate and promising, although
discontinuous and caricatural. A slow seduction of attraction/repulsion,
all talking or all action.
The eldery disease story with confrontation to death is also quite
powerful, even if sometimes heavyhanded and gory. I especially
liked the performance of the son who sees his father dying, helplessly,
cowardly, relying on the unconditional support of his neglected
The handheld camea was too much of an unecessary stylish distraction.
I don't know anything from this director yet. I don't where these
flaws (according to me) come from, but he's obviously inspired
to make a very personal cinema out of a simple story.
C:+++ W:++ M:+++ I:+++ C:++