Showing posts with label mai ratime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mai ratime. Show all posts

Saturday, October 6, 2012

BIFF 2012: Mai Ratima (마이 라티마) 2012

Part of MKC's coverage of the 17th Busan International Film Festival.

Debut features arrive with a weight of expectation but especially if they come from a major thespian making his first foray behind the camera. Yoo Ji-tae is one of Korea’s most well-known actors, he is a celebrity whose marriage last December was one of 2011’s top entertainment stories. To western audiences he will forever be known as the ageless and dapper antagonist from Oldboy (2003) but he has also impressed in dozens of other features throughout his 15-year career. A handsome and very tall performer, Yoo is perhaps a surprising directorial candidate, especially as few Korean performers transition into that role (the boundaries between Korean film industry professions are starker than Hollywood’s more fluid models). However, Yoo has steadily been earning credibility for himself as a short filmmaker over the past few years.

Mai Ratima, which takes its name from its Thai protagonist, is a film that takes a look at the fate of low-class immigrants in Korea. Hard-hitting and at times whimsical, it is a compelling feature that is thoughtfully constructed and deftly executed if overlong and a little too on-the-nose with its social agenda. Most impressive is Yoo’s engaging mise-en-scene. Saturated in heady hues, beautifully lensed and exquisitely edited, Mai Ratima feels like it is the product of a much more experienced hand, certainly not a rookie offering from a paparazzi magnet.