A couple of films here that were not really close to making the list, but were certainly worthy of comment.
A Moment To Remember
You know on the face of it, I really should have enjoyed this movie. The Stars, Jung Woo-sung and Son Ye-jin, are get regular mentions on the list, and the film is quite lovely to look at. Based on A Japanese television serial, “A Moment To Remember” tells the story of a love affair between two young attractive people, which results in their marriage. These people have had previous problems (Son Ye-jin’s character is exiting an affair with a married man, Jung Woo-sung has mother issues [as well as an inability to say ‘I love you’]), but they overcome this (as well as the fact he works for her father).
And then she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. We then follow her disintegration as her person, and his struggles to deal with the loss.
This is not an awful film – Korean filmmakers seem to be able to make these movies quite effortlessly, but maybe this one tries too hard. It is far too long (and I admit I saw the 30 minute longer Directors cut), and too often belies its roots as an extended serial by including too many subplots.
Interestingly, my enjoyment of the film was the reverse of normal. Usually I enjoy the first half, and then get disappointed with how the film resolves and ends. In this case it was the reverse. I found the opening half un-engaging, and frankly I did not buy the romance. However, once Ye-jin’s character is aware of her diagnosis the film became a lot more interesting.
As someone who suffers from a terrible memory (nothing medically significant mind you, I have problems putting older memories in order and context), I found some of the questions it asks interesting. I don’t think there is a Korean Actress that does the suffering ill girl quite as well as Son Ye-jin.
The final scene is where the film finally succeeds, we revisit the opening scene in a clever and poignant manner. It is this scene alone which raises the film to be talk-worthy on here.
In the final analysis, the film is merely good. And usually a movie needs to be great to garner its own entry.
Protégé de la Rose Noire
But not this one.
I have been wracking my mind, trying hard to find some way of describing the film to a Western Audience. Describing and justifying.
And then it hit me.
This is a modern Hong Kong Version of “The Monkees”. The film is light-hearted, nonsensical, illogical, occasionally intentionally hilarious. It is nothing more than an exercise in getting the two pretty stars on the big screen. Charlene Choi (who you might remember I was highly impressed with in “Diary”) is a lot of fun in the film, seemingly much happier with the ditzy character she is asked to play than her partner, Gillian Chung, who seems quite withdrawn and uneasy.
I cannot pretend to understand 50% of the film, and I am pretty sure it is full of little sub-parodies of other movies. I am not familiar with the “Black Rose” Character which is also being parodied, but I am aware enough of the genre to get what is going on.
I am not going to even try and explain the plot. Let’s just say this is “Twins-porn” – culminating with a scene in a Bubble Bath which although not explicit, will raise some eyebrows.
But the absolute highlight is the subtitles. One assumes that this film is not going to garner a lot of attention outside of Asia. So the English subtitles have been put together by someone who knows what the words mean, but possibly not sure how to contextualise, or (to paraphrase Eric Morcombe) not put them together in necessarily the right order. In short they are hilarious.
And for that point alone, this film is worth seeing, but make sure you bring beer – a lot of it….