Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A TALE OF CINEMA (Hong Sang-soo, 2005, South Korea) Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? Is there a distinction? This is a film within a film structure which parallels cinema with the "real" world as it explores such dynamic and ubiquitous themes as love, obsession, fixation, and friendship. The first act of the film involves an apathetic young man who convinces his girlfriend to commit suicide with him in a dirty motel room . When things go awry, we meet another man who recognizes the woman from the first scenes as an actress (because the first act was a film within this film...I think) and falls obsessively in love with her. He explains that he knew the writer/director of the film she starred in and aspects of the main character were based on him. The two of them are drawn inexplicably together and we are left feeling their guilt and loss. Much of the film is spent close to the characters while they drink beer, smoke, and openly discuss their feelings (or lie to conceal the truth). Seoul is a beautiful and bleak backdrop for this unresolved emotional conflict. (B)

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