Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A BITTERSWEET LIFE (Korean) (2005)


One fine spring day a disciple looked at some branches blowing in the wind. He asked his master-“Master, are the branches moving or is it the wind?” Not even glancing to where his pupil is pointing the master smile and said- “That which moves is neither the branches nor the wind, it’s your heart and mind.”


Kim Sunwoo is as sophisticated and dedicated young professional as any mob boss could wow for. His boss while being out for 3 days, needed his favor to watch his girlfriend who’s maybe having an affair with a young man. As he’s following and watching her every move, he’s facing messy dispute with another rival mob chief who starts bothering him too personally. Tension is rolling physically, psychologically and as the case of all human drama and action- emotionally. Sometime one mistake is enough to put you in deep mess and that’s what happens with him. His one emotionally weak moment becomes an open invitation to hell.


One late autumn night, the disciple woke up crying. So the master asked disciple-“Did you have a nightmare?” “No,” said the disciple. “Did you have a sad dream?” asked Master. “No…I had a sweet dream”, said the disciple. “Then why are you crying so sadly”, said the master. The disciple answered quietly, while wiping his tears. “Because the dream I had can’t come true.”

Kudos to Korean cinema...the style, the violence, the action getting new dimension where props of bullets and bloodshed are not used just to portray gross entertainment but to give it altogether different dimension like a visual poetry of sheer art. The visual beauty they brought to their cinema is worthy to envy not just Hollywood but some of the European filmmaking too. Currently they’re having auteur of cinema like Kim Ki-duk, Park Woon Chak, Bong Joon-ho and I won’t exaggerate if I say that writer, director Kim Jee Woon’s this gangster noir with stylish and slick action is the learning material for Tarantino or John Woo. It starts on slowly built tension where mysterious and suave personality of Byung Hun Lee reminds me Alain Delon in Melville’s French noir ‘Le Samourai’. It’s slick, gripping and wonderfully violent with innovative camerawork in action. Watch the brilliant use of artificial lights in night shots where it brings some of extraordinary moments of bizarre action and violence you’ve ever seen on screen. And that too with soothing background score and awesome bloody climax to sweep your all attention.

Watch and you’ll feel why Peckinpah called ‘Violence is beauty.’ J


No comments: