Month: August 2007



Kim Ki-duk :: S. Korea :: 2006 :: 1h37

Ji-woo has been with his girlfriend See-hee for two years. When she sees him looking or talking to other girls See-hee feels over-whelmed with a jealousy and a fear that their love is over. He assures her that it is not, but she can not be convinced. In her mounting fury, she convinces herself that he is no longer interested in looking at her. Then one day: she’s gone, leaving Ji-woo heartbroken.

Lost, Ji-woo does not know what to do with his life. With his crude friends they roll themselves into Seoul’s singles’ merry-go-round. When he finally meets a girl he likes and could fall in love with, he gets a note from See-hee announcing her return. Bizarrely enough, when she shows up in the café, she is masked with a photo of her own face covering her own. The heartbroken Ji-woo does not know what to feel in the confusion staring at his love. See-hee masks a secret and a reborn jealousy but this time not of others but of … herself.

The funny and challenging movie addresses a interchangeability issue, based on a premise of human superficiality, but unfortunately misses its target. Most of the blame is to be carried by a badly written script which looses the actors and the audience along the way by its lack of credibility. Far fetched ideas can be a real pleasure to watch, but deviating from human understanding, as this plot does, leaves us nowhere. Even if at first we can manage to muster enough sympathy for Ji-woo to deal with his loss, a little further into the film it is just no longer tenable. The impossibility of  the plot soon flips over onto See-hee who can no longer be human. I do not see how this film could have been saved other than just going back to the drawing board. A pity, considering the originality of the project at the outset, when Kim Ki-duk was no doubt sitting at a café table laughing about the idea with his friends…

Official Website


La fille coupée en deux

La Fille Coupé en DeuxLa fille coupée en deux

Claude Chabrol :: France :: 2007 :: 1h55

Old, cynical and blasé writer shares his time between his urban extra-marital apartment life and his designer bunker in the countryside with his wife. He meets the young Gabrielle (Ludivine Sagnier), and introduces her into his debauched little circle of friends. After some -to us unknown- indulgence, he leaves her love-sick and broken hearted.

Gabrielle accepts the advances of Paul, an unstable extravagant bourgeois, to start a life together. Paul is so infatuated by Gabrielle, that he has little eye for her feelings towards him, perhaps imagining it will come by itself. He has been so used to getting what he wants, that the idea that his own desires being thwarted by the heart of another had eluded him. When the realisation comes around, that Gabrielle’s heart lingers on her lost love of a man she could not possess, Paul’s desperation rises to the breaking point.

The title of the work suggests that Gabrielle herself is caught between two fires, but that is a misrepresentation. Her allegiance is with the man who used her rather than with the man she married. His frustration is spawned by her inability to deal with her own past, a past which perhaps she should never have let happen. No tears have been spilt over the whole unfortunate course of events, but they should have – it may have led to some character development.

As it stands, Chabrol leaves us with a tedious sequence of events which may have held some interest (dealing-with-ones-amorous-past-theme), but for that he would have needed quite some help: a better script, more creative imagery, and a more involved director than himself to guide his otherwise capable cast.

In short, I would say there is not much added value with this production, even for die-hard Ludivine Sagnier fans. Unless you feel impressed by Chabrol’s capacity to pass on his character Paul’s deepest desire to the spectator: wishing it was just all over.

Ne quittez pas

18385893.jpgNe Quittez Pas

Arthus Joffé :: France :: 2004 :: 1h42

After a radical spring cleaning initiated by his insensitive wife, Felix gives away his father’s coat to a bum. A few moments later, the phone rings sporting the voice of his deceased father (!) asking him to get it back. A surrealist tale ensues, pulling Felix over the rough edges of life to get him onto the right track.

The tale unfolds as a consciousness-awakening about one’s place in the world, in a family, in a culture and in a religion. Perhaps bizarrely enough, his job – he’s an astronomer- does not really play a role other than the idea that he has his head in the stars. In the movie, fate is but a step on the path which has been laid out for us by our parents and ancestors… but you do need to follow it, you need to hold on.

On this path we are served surrealist images of everyone phoning when you need a phone, a cameo appearance by the infamous ‘Prince Noir’ and even get to hear heaven’s operator! As light as a feather in vacuum, we are presented with an original look at life through the eyes of parental responsibility.

Official Website