Archive for the ‘Korean’ Category

Kartik Krishnan has got his internet back. So here’s one more round-up of Day 2,3 and 4. Our previous warp-up posts are here and here.

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A Touch of Sin – Starts off as Dombivali Fast/Falling Down, switches onto a multiple protagonist story film – with each protagonist encountering death in one way or another in his/her journey. First story is God Bless America set in a small hamlet in China, the second one ends in a crime which looks shockingly ‘normal’ & commonplace, third one is a journey of a woman working in a spa, and the last one is ‘coming of age’ story of a teenager struggling to make ends meet by working in factories. A little long and may be slightly meandering but this one quite surprised me. Super fun.

Jadoo – Somewhat OTT but funny desi comedy set in UK, this one should be watched among other things, to see that Ibu Hatela urf Harish Patel still got it, though he may have put on some weight. Was laughing at quite a few places. Formulaic, food porn, feel good family coming together at crisis masala cliche very well utilized by the director and yet there is a soul somewhere in place. Nice.

Locke – I know we are mentioning this film again but ‘t’s worth it. Tom Hardy. Driving a car. One night in London. Travelling from one end of town to another. All the time on phone. The premise sounds like a thriller but it is a superlatively shot human drama about a man trying to face his demons. Doesn’t get repetitive despite being a single ‘setup’ film. Wish we could see a hindi film like this but which actor is confident and daring enough to pull off something like this ? I wish subtitles were there because the Brit accent sometimes flew over my head. Now I want to see the writer-director’s Humming bird.

Salinger – A solid docu on the life and works of JD Salinger – Catcher in the Rye wala. Always felt the book was overrated but I want to read more stuff by him. He had 4-5 novel manuscripts ready/work in progress and yet he didn’t publish them untill he died. His eccentric relationship with fame & adulation, and the fact that in three cases of assassination (including the guy who killed John Lenon) the accused used his book to defend himself. Insightful.

Autumn Blood – this Australian thriller’s plot may seem like a B Grade rape-revenge film but I was very quickly hooked in from the opening sequence. In the 90 plus minutes of it’s duration, it has BARELY 5 MINUTES of dialogue (reminded me of Amit Kumar’s terrific Bypass). The excellent sound design and BGM is used in addition to visual storytelling and what a feat this is to pull it off. Hats off!

The Keeper of Lost Causes – Scandinavia, Police procedural, old boy, mood piece, creepy and intense, investigative thriller. Everything perfect except may be the slightly filmy end.

short-term-12-posterShort Term 12 – THE FILM OF MFF for me. Hands down. In the same ballpark as The Class. Nothing to nit pick. Nothing to write. WATCH IT NOW. Shed a tear or two in few scenes. What a depiction of a love relationship! And the teenagers are so good.

Heli – family getting caught up in extra judicial military forces ka atyachar. Quite liked it. I don’t know if this happens in Mexico, but it surely does in Kashmir & Dantewada.

For Those In Peril – this redemption tale set in the gloomy scotland (wish there were subtitles) lost me somewhere in the middle. And the bizzare ending just left me confounded. Koi samjha do kya hua.

Tonnerre – another doomed relationship film. Lovely. The lead is so good and ‘paavam’ (bechara). Was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

My Dog Killer – what an opening sequence. A tough guy training his dog, called by his dad for help. Stark, minimal, gritty, family social drama, this film left me wondering all the time where the hell this is going to go. And the dark ending nailed it for me. Don’t go by the title of the film!

A Long and Happy Life – a farmowner’s struggles to balance the shifting equations between his farmer community and the city council. Must start watching more Russian films after this one.

Kaphal (Wild Berries) – a sweet little funny children’s film set in the plush garwal, what a cinematic delight this one was. The kids(normally irritating in most hindi films) were so lovable, they carried the film on their shoulders. Ably supported by Subrat Dutta (Talaash), Pubali Sanyal (did she play Boti’s wife in Maqbool?) and cilemasnob‘s favorite under utilised Sunita Rajwar – who has a monologue and she rocks! Another movie which made me cry a couple of times. The audience loved it. Take a bow Batul Mukhtiar!

Good Morning Karachi – Slumdog Millionare meets Madhur Bhandarkar in Karachi. Was really disappointed. So were the fans of Khamosh Paani. Heard an editor friend laughing throughout at the unintentional hilarity at times.

Katiyabaaz – a very intresting film. Mazedaar. Somewhere between a documentary and a Dibakar Bannerjee-ish at times feature, this one digs into the power supply problems, a local hero (Loha Singh is the new Sagairaj!), the unpopular IAS Ritu Maheshwari – MD of Kanpur Electricity Board, the dwingling kaarkhanas of the industrial city, Indian ocean’s music and the superb background score. Lovely. Hats off to the full team. More power to apni Alice & apna Varun 🙂

Killer Toon – a web comic designer’s comic sketches potrayl of deaths, are carried out with precision of a serial killer. How? Why? Who? Is the designer responsible? What are the cops going to do about it? Who is that kid on the road? This excellent premise laden film begins with a arresting opening sequence and the horror-thriller tone is set. The repeated flashbacks and seamless transition to & from animation to reality itself is worth seeing this film – the chills down your spine while watching this one in a dark theater notwithstanding.

And an entire film can be made out the funeral business wala. What a character and what a performance by the actor (albeit in a role spanning less than half of the film). Would love to see that alternate film.

The Past – Asghar Farhadi’s superlative follow up ‘sequel’ of sorts to his brilliant A Seperation. This dysfunctional family drama is set in a almost Ramin Bahrani’s version of Paris, with characters bickering, coming to terms, confessing. It doesn’t get more ‘real’ than this and yet the situations are so dramatic. The lead from Seperation & Prophet nail it in this one, and the wife deserves all the accolades. Long takes, minimalist camerawork, terrific performances from the cast – Farhadi’s signature everywhere. I have been informed marriage-separation is the director’s favorite genre. He seems at home in this film with an objective eye on every one. The train sequence with the father son choked me up. And I loved Fohad – the little kid. MUST MUST WATCH.

And this list comes from Aniruddh Chatterjee, the self-declared biggest Korean movie fanatic on this side of the planet. Do read the post, and do watch the films. If you have come across some interesting Korean movies recently, do let us know in the comments.

Over to Aniruddh.

SECRET  SUNSHINE

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Jeon Do-yeon relocates alongwith her young son to the village where her recently deceased husband grew up. And tragedy strikes again. The film is not so much about the tragedy itself, as about its aftermath. Jeon Do-yeon’s performance is as raw and naked as it can get.

Note: Jeon Do-yeon won the Best Actress award at Cannes Film Festival for Secret Sunshine.

Lee Chang-dong is fairly underrated when it comes to the big league of Korean directors. His last film Poetry is an absolute gem. Do watch his entire filmography which includes Oasis, Peppermint Candy and Green Fish.

Secret Sunshine is now available on Criterion DVD/Blu-ray.

CASTAWAY  ON  THE  MOON

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A failed suicide attempt results in Jeong Jae-yeong play Robinson Crusoe in a conservation island in the middle of Han River. The only person who can see him is Kim Jung-yeon, an agoraphobic, who has shut herself in one of the city’s high rises.

Offbeat, quirky, bizarre yet immensely endearing take on romantic comedy.

PAJU

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The opening scene in the film sees Seo Woo traveling in a taxi through dense fog. From the first shot director Park Chan-ok is preparing the audience for the ride. Paju is about the complicated relationship between a young girl and her brother-in-law and complications that follow. Gorgeously shot by Kim Woo-hyung and a brilliant and emotionally nuanced performance by Seo Woo in her breakout role.

This is what we call a mood-piece!

TREELESS  MOUNTAIN

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A tender, almost meditative tale of resilience, while facing constant abandonment from family. Heartbreaking real performance from both leads, Kim Hee-yeon and Kim Song-hee.

THE  DAY  HE  ARRIVES

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Hong’s films are very Woody Allen-esque. His characters aren’t as neurotic as Allen but definitely immature and self centered fools. Beautifully shot in monochrome, highlighting the winter, the film is about Yoo Jun-sang, a retired film director, currently teaching film studies, and his encounter with friends, acquaintances and strangers over the next few days when he visits Seoul.

Note : Hong Sang-soo is criminally underrated when it comes to the big league of Korean directors.

He is a Cannes Film Festival regular with five of his films nominated for either Palme d’Or or Un Certain Regard. His film Hahaha won the Un Certain Regard award in 2010.

Do check out his filmography which includes Woman on the Beach, Tale of Cinema, Night and Day, Hahaha and the recent In another Country.

JUVENILE  OFFENDER

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A beautiful film about a couple of lost souls trying to fit into society, knowing it is difficult for them to change at all.

Terrific performances by Seo Young-joo and Lee Jung-hyun.

DANCE  TOWN

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The struggle of a North Korean refugee trying to cope with her new life in South Korea as she’s constantly under the radar of South Korean intelligence alleging her to be a spy.

Note : The final chapter in director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s town trilogy, other two being Mozart Town and Animal Town.

BLEAK  NIGHT

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Bleak Night is post-mortem of a suicide. Three high school friends, their loyalty, betrayal, guilt and despair leading to and post the suicide. Touches the important topic of bullying and violence in high school.

Yoon Sung-Hyun makes one of the most assured directorial debuts in recent times.