Friday, October 24, 2008

Kim Ki Duk's DREAM at Hong Kong Asian Film Festival

Like I wrote on my last post, last night So Jene and I schlepped out to Kowloon Tong AMC in Festival Walk mall to see Kim Ki Duk's DREAM, which was being screened (one-screening only) as part of the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival.

We, especially I, had very high expectations since the guy's been remarkably consistent in making truly unique films. I love COAST GUARD, BIRD CAGE, and BAD GUY. I also believe that this guy is the most-talented, most-original, filmmaker of my generation. (That is correct: He is the best most-original living filmmaker I have seen in the 30+ years that I've been watching films.)

But, it turns out the guy is only human, and this movie was less than stellar.

Here are some tidbits: The main character speaks only Japanese, but all the other Korean characters can miraculously understand him. He talks to them in Japanese. They answer back in Korean. And nothing, not even one piece of dialog, is used to explain or address this.

But this is just a minor quibble in the overall plausibility benchmark.

Granted that Kim Ki Duk movies aren't usually known for being very plausible and we knew going in not to expect a mainstream narrative, but this movie was just too much. Too much so that it prevented the development of real empathy.

So Jene termed it aptly by saying she couldn't empathize at all with the characters because the things they were doing were outright stupid.

Stupid in what way?

For instance, the main character is put in a situation where he must not sleep. So what does he do? Normal people would drink coffee. This guy starts to stab himself in the head and pound his foot with a hammer.

I actually don't think Kim Ki Duk is one of those gratuitous gore-type directors like Miike, who do gore for fore's sake.

Kim Ki Duk's 14 other movies are magnificent, equally disturbing and sublime, and even more impressive because he wrote and directed every single one of them.

I know the next Kim Ki Duk film will be amazing.

On the whole, a rather disppointing night. Still, while watching the film--the audience was mostly HK Chinese (I'd been wondering what sort of fanbase the guy has here in HK; in South Korea, his movies don't play at all)--there were scenes that really inspired me. I started thinking, I could do this. I've shot scenes like this. All it takes is two actors and a 35mm camera.

Cut to the chase, I began thinking I could make a 35mm feature film. All I need to do is write a script that has very little dialogue. That way it can be shot with novice actors with a 35mm cameral.

Sure it'll cost some money (I figure it can be done for 50-60 thousand dollars), but what the hell am I waiting for? Even a bad movie can get some light of day, and can lead to the next film.

You have to have something to show for yourself.

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