Haepi-endeu (1999)

“Haepi-endeu” (1999)



rule and exception

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

I am into korean cinema. They have been giving me some of the deepest experiences with recent years cinema. From the current crop of (at least) competent korean filmmakers, we have Wook-Park and Kim Ki-Duk. Both of them have added value to my life with some of their films. Apart from them i found lots of competence and thrill in other films from there.

Now i saw this. It’s impressive, not powerful and life-altering like Oldboy or Bin-jip but still worthy.

Let me remark on how this is built. The film begins and (practically) ends with 2 really exaggerated and intense scenes: it starts with a visceral obsessed sex scene and ends with a brutal killing. Both are enhanced beyond what was need to make a statement and both go a little bit beyond what we would normally tolerate in such scenes. In the middle of these scenes, we are given scenes of common, even dull daily routine. Cooking, nursering, reading, working, eating. Just that. So, the scenes are extreme moments of ordinary lives. It’s what the film is about. The killing is an exaggerated, violent and uncommon reaction to a relatively ordinary situation of adultery. The film visually corresponds to this, so we have a case of great adequation between what we see and what we are told. That is good enough to please me.

This is flawed in the way it purely relies on the effect these scenes should have on you. The risks are minimized to those two scenes and controversy they might (and did) cause. Well, i think the film works relatively well, but the scenes didn’t shock me so much (the last 10 years gave us films like Irreversible). Still, what stays is good experience, because the whole film is about making us numb and unreactive, and than shake us and suddenly wake us up. It’s relatively thin but it works, and most of all, it does it cinematically, it does it in the eye.

The artistic work is great. The cinematography is perfectly aware of colours, saturations, and composition elements. It’s beautiful, and something we see over and over in every korean film, even the worst ones. Visually, korean cinema doesn’t seem to be as depurated and abstract as Japanese imagery, instead it is a pleasant relaxed depiction of beauty, with western concepts and influences and, yet, very rooted in an eastern society. I suppose it corresponds to where South Korea stands culturally these days.

My opinion: 3/5

This commento on IMDb


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