Top 25 Korean Films - No. 10

Duelist (Dir. Lee Myung-se, 2005)

As I was putting together this list, I must admit that I was surprised at how high this film ended up placing. Like many, I wasn’t especially keen on Duelist the first time I saw it. As with other critics of Lee Myung-se, I called it a beautiful but shallow exercise in style over substance. But as I’ve gone back to revisit it, I’ve begun to realize that I wasn’t looking at it the right way.

Lee Myung-se makes immensely lyrical and stylish films, but what he also does is break apart the medium as we know it. His films are less concerned with narrative than they are with using film and genres in novel ways to create something new. The most beautiful of all Korean period films, Duelist is a triumph of aesthetics with serves as Lee’s ode to movement. Each of the film’s many elements are constantly in flux, carefully orchestrated components in an entrancing, balletic chaos. A stunning work that requires one to recalibrate their expectations of cinema.

Intro - 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 
15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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1 comment:

  1. This is "Les parapluies de Cherbourg", Korean-style :) A thing of beauty where form melts into substance, both becoming something else...