Wednesday, January 07, 2009

비몽 Bi-mong (Dream)

Ki-duk Kim films are always special and I found them one different from the other, but all are truly exceptional. Dream is no exception and for the very first time in a Ki-duk Kim movie I laugh(!) which makes it even more exceptional! But have to admit that my laugh was more a nervous laugh out of the surprise that what I was seeing gave me.

The screenplay also written by Ki-duk Kim tells about a man, Jin, that starts to have dreams that he feels are real and in one car crash dream he wakes up and decides to go to the crash scene only to find that there was a crash that exactly happened as he dreamed, except that obviously he was not driving the car but was a woman, Ran. The police catch the woman and we find that she’s a sleepwalker, but Jin has been following the police and tells them that it wasn’t her, it was him the one driving the car… in his dream. To tell you what follows is to spoil the strangest story about relationships that I have seen lately, but not only the visuals are outstanding -as always- but the twists are incredible amazing and representative of a great imagination to portrait jealousy, pain, suffering, love, obsessive love, fighting, trying to not sleep, and so many other human emotions.

Starring famous Japanese actor Jô Odagiri and Korean actress Na-yeong Lee with excellent dramatic performances and the most amazing flawless communication with words that it wasn’t until I read about the movie that I found that Odagiri was speaking Japanese while Na-yeong and all the other actors were speaking Korean! Wow! this sounds totally surreal! I wish I could understand one of the languages to really have an idea of what this surreal experience could have been, but somehow I imagine that dialogs are not truly essential to the film, as images tell the entire story.

The film has an urban setting and cinematography is just spectacular with absolutely beautiful frame compositions in both indoor as outdoor compositions, great silences, great actors expressions and slow pace that allows you to see everything, especially noticing the attention paid to details in the indoor elaborate sets; but in this case the narrative is as spectacular as all the tech specs that are blended into an outstanding cinematic experience.

The movie was screened in competition at the 2008 San Sebastian fest and became a good box office hit in Korea when released.

I believe that the films of Ki-duk Kim are like someone says an “acquired taste” but absolutely this film is a lot easier to watch than previous films which makes it a little more for general audiences, but please do not think that is a regular commercial movie as it is not at all. This is a truly art house film with a clearer narrative that will leave you thinking about what is reality and what are dreams.

If you decide to give it a try please be aware that there are some disturbing scenes concerning Ki-duk’s preoccupation with characters self-mutilation, but they are not gratuitous and are essential to the storytelling.


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