Friday, November 17, 2006

Three Extremes

Saam Gaang Yi (2004)

Being a collection of three, short films from Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea

Directed by: Fruit Chan
Written by: Lilian Lee
Starring: Ling Bai, Miriam Yeung Chin Wah, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Meme Ti

About a former TV star who will do anything to regain her youth, right down to eating chopped up fetus in dumpling form.

For an unprepared, American viewer such as myself, this comes off as extremely disturbing. Maybe it's shocking in Hong Kong, too, I have no idea. I just know that I have never seen anything like it in Western film. There's an abortion scene in particular, which made me kind of want to vomit.

It was beautifully shot, though, as is customary of Asian film, though this one stands out, even among these three films.

The music was perfectly inappropriate, being rather light and cheerful even when horrible, nasty, revolting things were happening. I love it.

The whole film had a sort of arty feel, and though a lot of it was sort of strange and abstract, it probably made the most sense of the three.

Written and Directed by: Park Chanwook
Starring: Byun-hung Lee, Won-Hee Lim, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-yeon Lee

From Korea comes a bizarre film about a Director being held hostage by a deranged extra, who cuts off his wife's fingers in order to make him kill a little girl. Only, it isn't a little girl. I guess. That's about the point where I lost track of what was going on.

Maybe it's just my Western brain, but most of this didn't make any sense. It seemed kind of like it was trying to be deep or something. I don't know. It also had a really weird sense of humour. I think.

Very strange. Very, very strange. The guy who plays the extra is good and kind of amusing, in a sick sort of way.

Still, the big problem that I just can't get over is that I really had no idea what the hell was going on. That sort of cancels out any merits the film may have.

Directed by: Takashi Miike
Written by: Haruko Fukushima
Starring: Kyoko Hasegawa, Atsuro Watabe, Mai Suzuki, Yuu Suzuki

About a woman who feels really guilty about accidentally killing her sister 15 years ago, and keeps having dreams about being locked in a box and buried alive. Sort of.

Not in anyway logical or linear, but it sure as hell looked good. It was very dreamlike, occaisionally a nightmare, and all very beautiful and strange.

I don't know. It didn't make any kind of sense (well, it did, but not a whole lot), but I liked it. I like these Asian movies, the Japanese ones especially for some reason.

The editting seemed to me to be very well done for some reason, and I loved the sound (or lack there of). The silences are mind numbing, almost like... I dunno, something's being sucked out of you instead of an image being fed into you.

It's weird. The movie sort of touched something in my brain, and triggered some really bizarre effect on me. I don't know, I can't explain it, but it seems to shut off a part of my mind and I can't think straight. It's kind of narcotic, actually.

Overall, the movie is a sort of assault of the senses, disturbing, disgusting, and sometimes ridiculous. It doesn't all make perfect sense, but it's sort of more about mood and atmosphere than anything. I'm glad I watched it, and want to see the sequel.


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