More quick fire reviews from the 14th Jeonju International Film Festival.
Inertia – 6/10
This Mexican hospital drama has an extremely heartfelt script, as the nature of love and sacrifice are explored. Central protagonist Lucia accidently runs into her ex-boyfriend Felipe who, thanks to failing kidneys, has momentary lapses in coherence. As she decides to take care of him the two discover feelings that they thought were long gone, yet Felipe’s increasingly volatile state causes further heartache. Director Isabel Munoz Cota competently helms the drama, yet there is always a distance between the audience and the characters, a critical issue for such an emotional story. Similarly the acting is also adequate, but the roles demand much more skill and nuance than what is provided. Inertia is a well-made film that doesn’t quite manage to fulfill the potential of the script.
Burn, Release, Explode, The Invincible (연소, 석방, 폭발, 대적할 이가 없는) – 4/10
Director Kim Su-hyun (김수현) blends a variety of generic conventions within Burn, Release, Explode, The Invincible, merging drama, documentary, and experimental forms. The result is an odd tale about a woman with an androgynistic voice, who is in high demand for voice over work due to her authoritative yet soft vocal style. Her gift is also her curse however as the pressures surrounding her impact her mental stability. In terms of technique it’s a well-made film, yet the story is difficult to follow and the central protagonist hard to empathize with given the disparate conventions and non-linear storytelling. The finale is also quite odd as traditional Korean performances are introduced to express freedom. An interesting film, but also one that’s difficult to become immersed in.
Shibata and Nagao (시바타와 나가오) – 6/10
While his last film Breathless was a mesmerizing exploration of social class and the nature of violence, director Yang Ik-june (양익준) opts for a very different approach with romantic drama Shibata and Nagao. Filmed in Japanese, the film explores ex-lovers who meet again following a later break-up. Director Yang’s style is soft and tender as he examines the feelings that still exist between them, but it is also frustratingly slow-paced as very little information about them is revealed. There are some lovely moments that arise, as well as comedic – they discuss if a loud, violent couple are Korean – and it is thought-provoking in regards to unresolved/unrequited emotions. There’s a sense that there is a larger story not shown which is a shame. A lovely, yet slow-paced film.