Posts Tagged '500 days of summer'

Wick-Quoting #52: Sunny (Sseo-ni)

“I’m sorry that I’m so pretty.  It’s all my fault.”

=======================================================

The thing I like about Korean films is that they are so so so much different than Hollywood movies.  Korean films, in my opinion, are a lot more engaging, difficult, and rewarding than most movies coming out of Hollywood these days.  Sunny (Sseo-ni), is one of those films that make you realize that there is a whole other world to movies than just Hollywood, and it is reassuring.  The film is about a middle aged woman, Na-mi, remembering the past as she tries to find her old high school friends who were in a group with her named Sunny.  While the film is mainly considered  a drama, it has many other genres as well, including romance, action, and comedy.

So-ra about to talk some smack

What makes the film so great is how it all comes together – the flashbacks, the current day problems, and the foreshadowing.  The foreshadowing in Sunny is amazing and can almost bring a tear to your eye as to how perfectly it fits to the story.  Along with the foreshadowing, there are many different detailed techniques that just adds a bit more to the film, such as how the diagetic and non-diagetic music is intertwined with the story.  It really reminded me of 500 Days of Summer when Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character turns up the volume which results in the diagetic music becoming the background music of the story as well.  Other film techniques that are interesting include the transition of time, such as the scene where Na-mi takes her first shot of soju and the shot glass is shown in close up slamming on the table, but as the camera zooms out, it is apparent that the girls are already drunk, indicating a passage of time.  It is these little techniques that show how much care the director (Kang Hyeong-Cheol) put into the film.

Dreams are my reality~

Of course, the diverse cast is also what makes the film so great.  Go Su-hee, Yu Ho-jeong, and Min Hyo-rin are just a couple of popular names.  And of course, there’s Kang So-ra, the girl who plays the leader of the group.  She is very popular in Korea nowadays.

It's funny that the film had another group named Girls Generation

The film touches upon some serious topics, such as death, drugs, poverty and bullying, but even so, with the ’80s setting and the strong bond of the girls, Sunny is a heartwarming film that is definitely worth seeing.  However, due to cultural differences, foreigners will probably not get the full entertainment value that the film has to offer, for example, the ridiculous humor might escape some people.  Even so, the film overall is a very nice break from the identical story model films that Hollywood has to offer.

9.0

Quoted by MWP

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Wick-Quoting #10: Thirst (Bakjwi)

Films that aim at a specific audience do so in order to ensure tickets are sold.  If that applies to Thirst, then there must be some pretty messed up people out there.  Thirst, or Bakjwi (meaning bat in Korean),  is one of the craziest films that you can watch up to present day.  I didn’t know Park Chan-wook was capable of writing and directing a more disturbing movie than his last, but apparently he was.  Park, a famous Korean director, is know mainly for his 2003 film, Old Boy.

Now don’t just dismiss Thirst just because it’s a film about vampires.  Twilight is the one that ruined the idea towards vampires: kill the messenger, not the message (of vampires).  Thirst has a strong structure with fully developed characters and many psychological twists.  Although the Priest Sang-hyeon (Song Kang-ho, who also played the main character in another Korean favorite, Gwoemul) is naturally a good person at heart, the actions he carries out tell otherwise.  He kills people, drinks their blood, and engages in sensual activities with Tae-ju, one of the most f-ed up characters you’ll ever see on screen.  She makes Summer from 500 Days of Summer look like an ANGEL.  Actually, she makes pretty much any other character look like a golden retriever. It’s really difficult to take a side with either of Sang-hyeon or Tae-ju and share their pain as most films make you do with their main characters.  Although, I guess Tae-ju makes Sang-hyeon look like a priest, so you’re forced to side with him throughout the film.

To make you side with a murderer, Park is indeed a master of crazed psychology

There is no doubt that Park tried to add new elements to the genre of horror.  Sure, there are some shocking images that can make one feel disgusted, but I’m not talking about horror which films like Saw brings.  I’m talking about horror which the mind experiences from psychological trauma, such as reading (or watching) The Tell-Tale Heart.  This comes largely from the other characters who fall victim to Sang-hyeon and Tae-ju’s deeds.  If you watch the film, you’ll know what I mean.

Uhoh..

I found Thirst to be a better film than Park’s other films in almost every way; it is more: disturbing, dark, and complex.  The story is also very strong, with few loopholes here and there.  Even so, Thirst has only made around 15 million dollars, while Park’s more successful film, Old Boy, has made about 90 million – a really big difference.  However, Old Boy is an older film, which gave it more time to appeal worldwide.

Maybe it's the vampire image that's hurting the film's popularity? Although, that wouldn't make sense

Even though you might lose some innocence after watching Thirst, I still recommend it, especially to people who are not familiar with Park’s style.  However, it is advised to start off with something a little less intense, say Old Boy, to get into the mindset and be able to really appreciate the film – not just watch with awkward disgust.

8.3


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