Love & Peace
Words: Desmond Childs
I’m not gonna lie, South Korean films are fast becoming my favorite. I just feel like they tend to take me as an audience to places I’d wanna go, they tell stories with more creativity, flair, and a sort of real-world “edginess” that I have yet to find in Chinese or Japanese films. In my latest blog project, I’ve only reviewed about 20-25 films (watched about 30), and when I choose a film, I always choose it without any knowledge of the people who worked on it. The fact that the majority of them have been South Korean films is coincidence. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that South Korean films are the ones I seem to remember the most. If your considering checking out an asian film on Netflix, let me be the first to recommend a South Korean film. The genre doesn’t necessarily matter either. South Korean filmmakers have a knack for mixing different types of tones and emotions together. Case in point: Failan. Well actually, it’s not a great example, but it does carry some elements of different genres within. Alright, now for some information about the director (pictured above).
(For all who don’t know, I blog what’s on my mind, and don’t clean up. That’s why you’ll sometimes read me stating an opinion and take it back in the same sentence. It’s just me thinking out loud.)
So Close and yet so far…
Hae-sung Song first made his mark as a writer for the film, Born to Kill, back in 1996. His directorial debut, Calla (1999) was also the second project he served as a writer on. Mr. Song would also write The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman, in 2001; as his second feature-length film. As of this post, Song went on to direct three more films; Rikidozan (2004), Maundy Thursday (2006), A Better Tomorrow (2010). However he hasn’t written for any of his three most recent films. Hae-sung Song’s directing style is all things subtle. Visually there aren’t too many things to write back home about. However, the way Song is able to get the performances out of Choi Min-sik and Cecilia Cheung is something that really makes the movie special. I truly believe these two stars make the whole picture, not just because they do shine pretty brightly; but out of necessity. The film is about a lowly gangster (Choi Min-sik) who agrees to take the fall for his boss (also a childhood friend) who “rage” kills another thug outside in the rain. The movie really gets interesting when the ganster is registered as the legal husband of a chinese immigrant (Cecilia Cheung), whose goals seem to be more pure hearted and wholesome. The catch is that the two never truly get to see each other, muchless develop a working relationship in the traditional sense. However, they both began to dream about one another, and the sad, tragic ironies ring loud and true. The lowly ganster, who really cared for nothing in this world, had one friend, and no goals; falls in love (from afar) with his legal wife. As I said, tragedy befalls these two distant lovers, and I found myself caring deeply for the two people more than I expected too (especially for the lowly, gangster). This subtle, quiet film slides from beginning to middle with a sort of routine ease. Once we find out about the slow, poison like tragedy that has befallen one of the characters in the movie, I really started to dread the ending. When I say dread, I mean that in a good way. Like you know the ending will be bittersweet. See this movie for that reason. The two stars are also a great reason to see this. Especially Choi Min-sik, who I had the pleasure of seeing in other, more twisted films Oldboy and I Saw The Devil.