When I started this, I thought I would just be listing some films that meant a lot to me. Things have obviously changed – as I have revisited films and investigate further I have found new films that have made the “list”. And my film watching odyssey continues, new films are watched and some make the list, and some don’t.
There have been a couple of films recently that have been worthy of comment, but that don’t deserve their own place on the top list.
“You Are My Sunshine” is an interesting beast. Korean Cinema is well known for its mega-emotional “weepie” movies – indeed a couple have made the list. This one is based on a true story, and reminds me very much of a Hallmark Channel Movie/Serial. By this I mean we have an extended story, beautifully filmed and well acted, that reaches a crisis halfway through, and descends into a veil of tears until the end. And which remains strangely uninvolving.
This is the story of a simple farmer (played by “Man Who Was A Superman’s Hwang Jeon-min) who has reached a point in his live where he feels all that is missing in his life is marriage. He meets and falls in love with a “Tabang Girl”/Karaoke Hostess (oh ok, you are right – a Prostitute), Eun-ha (the quite brilliant Jeon Do-yeon).
The first half of the movie deals with their courtship. He is aware, and does not care about her line of work. She initially finds his attentions somewhat unwelcome, but about an hour in they are married, and things look rosy.
Then the shit hits the fan.
Eun-ha’s past comes back to haunt her, and to be honest if you see the trailer you will know that she runs away, returns to Prostitution, becomes HIV positive and becomes quite the national Pariah.
Each half of the film is fine, I just wish we spent a little longer seeing the couple happy together in the middle – it would give the final 40 minutes of the film some stronger foundations.
It looks nice, beautifully acted, it is even based on a true story. But I never got emotionally involved, which makes it a narrow miss.
“Sad Movie” is well, exactly as it describes itself. It tells four semi- connected (some more peripherally connected than others, but they do all cross over in some way) tales of relationships. Three are romantic, one is about a mother and a young son. On their own each story would be horribly trite and cliché, but together it works rather well. It reminds me of a British movie (think “Love Actually”) more than anything, and has an especially strong Korean Cast with many faces familiar to people who have seen the films on the list.
But it fails.
Every story ends in tears. No-one is redeemed. No-one gets a happy ending. And with four stories, and numerous characters, surely one could have gained something over the 2 hours we spend with them.
“Dasepo Naughty Girls” is sex comedy based on a popular webcomic. It matches its original format by being almost episodic, a collection of sketches that do tell something quite cohesive. It looks wonderful, bright and fun. Some of it is actually rather funny indeed. But it is far too long, and I stopped laughing long before the end. The characters are also quite hackneyed, with rarely anything new to say. I think I was disappointed by the film rather than hated it though – but the lesson is – just because an Asian film gets a UK DVD release, it does not necessarily mean it is any good!