Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Obbah: A Girl's Elder Brother

Director: Kim Jongguk
Country: South Korea

Outside Seoul train station, a couple run into an old acquaintance; a street musician mumbles along his songs; an elderly missionary does his rounds; and a rally is taking place in protest against world trade.

While I didn't really like the story taking place in this movie, I was very interested in the way that it was filmed. While the plot seems to be stretched out (mainly due to the largely improvised nature of the acting), my interest was kept by the long single shot of which the film is composed. Running at just over an hour, the movie is one unedited take. (This reminds me of Russian Ark, though with much less choreography and a smaller budget.) In addition to this, as the film progressed, the image slowly desaturated, eventually ending in black and white, which follows the tone of the film.

Obbah is not one to watch for the plot, but is a good example of experimental film-making, which is the main reason I didn't fall asleep during the screening. Budding filmmakers may get some ideas from this one.

Q&A: The director answered a few questions from the audience members who stayed behind. The main points were to do with the film-making process. He noted that the actors were given a rough scenario and it was up to them to improvise the dialogue between themselves. I asked how many takes it took for them to have the final product, and he said that they did two takes, although the first (the rehearsal take) turned out to be better than the second, so in the end, that was the one they picked.

This screening was preceded by two short films.

Sipmungan Hyoosi
English Title: The Ten-Minute Break
Director: Lee Seong-Tae
Country: South Korea

A short that deals with the stresses of compulsory military service in South Korea. I actually enjoyed this more than the actual feature. Very well done.

Jujaga Kodokhal Ddae
English Title: When a Runner Loves Solitude
Director: Kim Jongguk
Country: South Korea

A quirky film involving a runner at a busy railway crossing. It got a few laughs, including a giggle from myself.

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