Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cannes 2012 Official Selection Preview - South Korean Movies

There are two movies from South Korea and both are absolutely Must Be Seen for me for different reasons. These are my motives and reasons.

다른 나라에서 Da-reun Na-ra-e-suh (In Another Country) by Hong Sangsoo

Not really familiar with director that came to be known by me with his 2010 Un Certain Regard top award winner 하하하 HaHaHa but film stars one of my favorite actresses, Isabelle Huppert that makes me watch all her movies, a task that is quite difficult as she's a very busy actress.

What do I expect from this movie? Isabelle Huppert always does very intense characters in mostly very strange movies that travel the intensity level from light to really heavy. Of course there are some exceptions but this movie seems to be no exception and got my clue from synopsis.

A young film student and her mother run away seaside town of Mohang to escape their mounting debt. The young woman begins writing a script for a short film in order to calm her nerves:
Three women named Anne appear, and each woman consecutively visits the seaside town of Mohang. The first Anne is a successful film director. The second Anne is a married woman secretly in an affair with a Korean man. The third Anne is a divorcée whose husband left her for a Korean woman.
A young woman tends to the small hotel by the Mohang foreshore owned by her parents. A certain lifeguard can always be seen wandering up and down the beach that lies nearby. Each Anne stays at this small hotel, receives some assistance from the owner’s daughter, and ventures onto the beach where they meet the lifeguard.

With this plot summary you have to expect a complex -hopefully very intense- narrative that trailer and any of the available movie clips do not show as we know that narrative complexity is something that is not easy to show with a few scenes.

Hong Sangsoo in Cannes

His Cannes history starts in 1998 when Kangwon-do ui him (The Power of Kangwon Province) is shown at Un Certain Regard section, a section that sees him coming back with 3 more films and where in 2010 wins the top award with HaHaHa. He has competed twice for the Palme d'Or, first in 2004 with Yeojaneun namjaui miraeda (Woman is the Future of Man) then in 2005 with Geuk jang jeon (Tale of Cinema).

No doubt that acclaimed Korean cinema auteur has a significant history with Cannes, add that film is the vehicle for Huppert performance and you know that film could get honors at fest. With the eclectic jury I foresee that this film could call their attention and know that Huppert could be considered for the Best Actress award. As I refuse to learn more about this movie and have very little idea about Huppert character, consequently my first impression is that she has small opportunities to win as seems that Cotillard and Kidman characters are a lot more dramatic.

My love affair with Korean cinema is very limited as I have identified several key directors that I try to follow and watch everything from them; but discovering new ones has become a difficult task as I have had non-positive experiences with many films I have seen. Maybe is time to try again and definitively this director has to be on top of the list.

I know there are many of us that watch everything with Isabelle Huppert, so if you are one of them then this film is must be seen for you too.

Film Specs
Directed by Hong Sangsoo
Written by Hong Sangsoo
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Junsag Yu, Yumi Jung
Language: English and Korean
Nationality: South Korea (and France: co-production with Les Films du Camélia)
Runtime: 1h 28m
Production Year: 2012
Aka: Dareun Narayeseo

End Notes
Hong Sangsoo at Cannes go here.
Movie at Cannes site go here.
Director asianwiki go here.

돈의 맛 Do-nui Mat (The Taste of Money), Im Sang-soo

Highly excited that outstanding 하녀Hanyeo (The Housemaid) has a sequel (or so it seems) as I don't mind to continue learning about Korean wealth and Chaebul/Korean conglomerates stories; but is the expectation of how story will be told what makes me feel like "dying" to watch this film. Check the synopsis.

Young-jak who is a private secretary of madam Baek, the center power of Korean conglomerate, deals with immoral private issues of her wealthy family.
He reports to madam Baek that her husband, Mr. Yoon is having an affair with a Filipino nanny, Eva. Madam Baek is now despaired, then greedily seducing Young-jak for her sexual desire.
On the other hand, he begins to feel conflicted by madam Baek’s daughter, the only family member who approaches him with the true heart.
Lost between his morality and shortcut to successful life, he has to make the biggest decision he’s ever made to choose whom he will hang on to, in order to survive in this harsh world.

I know synopsis seems like a soap opera but knowing Im Sang-soo storytelling technique used in The Housemaid I expect that while narrative still will be a melodrama, visual storytelling absolutely will transport you into the world of cinema art. Just watch trailer and look at awesome film stills.

What do I expect from film? Absolutely stunning, breathtaking images thanks to outstanding locations, set designs, excellent camera, great editing, and other tech specs that are used to impressively recreate wealth in modern times. At least that's what Im Sang-soo did in The Housemaid and was truly close to perfection. Add great actors' performances plus amazing director storytelling technique and you get everything that's in my mind.

Im Sang-soo in Cannes

Not a long history as Im Sang-soo debuted in Cannes with The Housemaid but I'm sure that film being in Cannes allowed director international awareness. I wonder if this time film will get recognition but if film is as similar to The Housemaid as I imagine then film should get recognition for its cinematography and set design; unfortunately Cannes does not give any awards in those categories. Sigh.

Film Specs
Directed by Im Sang-soo
Written by Lim Sang-soo
Starring: Yoon Yeo-Jung, Kim Kang-Woo, Kim Hyo-Jin, Baek Yeo-Jung, On Joo-Wan
Language: Korean
Nationality: South Korea
Runtime: 114 minutes
Production Year: 2012

End Notes
Im Sang-soo at Cannes go here.
Movie at Cannes site go here.
Director at asianwiki go here.
Movie site go here.

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