Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Korean Cinema: Breaking the Waves

Darcy Paquet’s book on Korean cinema may be short (from intro to conclusion it runs just over 100 pages) but it is easily the clearest picture of Modern Korean cinema that exists in what is admittedly a small library. More importantly, what I love about New Korean Cinema: Breaking the Waves (hereafter NKC) is the diligent context it provides. The framework for everything that happened to or changed within Korean cinema in the 21st century is successfully laid out by Mr. Paquet. Upon completing the book I felt I understood the inner workings and the root of everything that typifies one of the most electric films industries in the world. I helped me put perspective on my own ideas and sowed the seeds for many new ones.  Perhaps its brevity is its success, had Mr. Paquet followed his groundwork and written in his own theories and ideas regarding Korean cinema, it most likely would have quelled the impulse to his base as a sounding board and starting point for each of his readers ideas. It is a tool which serves as gift for the power of interpretation. It is easy to draw several different conclusions after reading NKC, but at least we’ll have all gotten the facts right!

New Korean cinema: Breaking the Waves

1 comment:

  1. Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves is the kind of film that makes me proud to be a film-goer and exceeds anything I could have possibly expected from the man who made Element of Crime. That film had some clever experimentation (and so does this one) but this film is the kind that's beauty and power echoes in your mind hours after you've watched it. This is a flabbergasting work of art that portrays a woman's quest to please God and does so with the complexity and emotional power of a Bergman film (not to mention the fact that the film portrays a woman's intense suffering in world sternly ruled by men with the power of a Dreyer film). If von Trier made nothing else of any merit for the rest of his career, if all he did was make marginally interesting film experiments, I wouldn't hesitate to call him a great filmmaker on the soul basis of this film. Anyway, you get the picture… The film stars Emily Watson as Bess, a shy and neurotic girl who is filled with joy to be with her new husband Jan (Stellan Skarsgard who is exceptional). When Jan is paralyzed after an accident at the oilrig he works in, he is in danger of losing his life. He convinces Bess to see other people and Bess wants nothing more than to make him happy and to prove to God that she loves him. After some disastrous complications, Bess is led to believe that she can please God and save Jan's life by having numerous sexual encounters with strangers in town. This sounds like a grungy tale, but von Trier tells it with such humanism and focus on his themes that we never feel like he is rubbing our faces in drear. And Watson is delightful, frightening, and heartbreaking as a woman who will stop at nothing to please those around her. Her one-sided conversations with God (in which she looks up in the air submissively and pleas and then looks down with a deep voice of wrath and scolds) are both funny and sad, not to mention the fact that they reveal seemingly endless amounts of details about who she is. The film is made with a hand-held camera and a visually stunning solarized style. medico online doctor online psicólogo online veterinario online abogado online abogado España online abogado chile online abogado costa rica online psiquiatra online mecanico onlineThis style does not make the movie; it just adds richness to each scene in the way it gives each face such shadowy texture. In the end, von Trier seems to believe in God but does not believe in the churches that try to codify what he wants.