Hansel & Gretel (2007)

“Hansel & Gretel” (2007)



three children, three threads

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

Another experience in korean recent films. I think South Korea is producing some of the best films we get these days. It feels like there’s some kind of a film school there, which still allows their filmmakers to work freely on the ideas side. The technical and imagery side of this cinema is great, some of the best photography i’ve seen recently comes from korean films.

This one could actually have been something powerful, it was ambitious, but it fails, to me.

Basically it tries to be a mix of three elements: suspense/horror, mapped into children’s drama, mapped into Grimm’s brothers tale.

.it is horror because we have a designated viewer, someone who represents us is the story. His fears are passed onto us, because what happens to him, we feel it ourselves, or are supposed to. We have a house, not specially interesting on the spatial side, except for the attic. That house is explored by the main character, and we explore it with him, and we fear all the way. Yet none of the common things of true horror films occur, and we feel heavy all the way, suspenseful, without being ‘scared’. So it’s half the way between horror and suspense. This proximity to a genre is a vessel in which the other elements are inserted. It’s interesting the safety that the ‘genre’ gives filmmakers. They know they can rely on certain elements that will give audiences several references, that won’t make them feel lost. It may be a trick for lesser filmmakers to secure they make an understandable film, or it may be a safety net that allows them to do something bigger, on the eye, or narrative. This one, i think, was supposed to be on the second case.

.there is a past to those children. Later in the film we come to understand that’s what the thing is all about. They’re family past, the whole thing about them not growing up because of the mistreatments adults gave them is the stuff that feels and gives sense to the narrative. So, we are intended to be given a twist as we fall for the children’s motivations and start facing them as victims instead of devils.

.Hansel & Gretel, the tale, structures loosely the narrative. The horror elements give the mood, establish a genre, the Grimm’s story supports the visual elements, and some plot elements. More important, it is a story, the key to the film. Notice that the main character, our designated protagonist gets free when he burns the story.

So this is all about narrative over layering and mixing narrative threads. We have three lines explore, and three children puppeteers. Get it? The thing is i didn’t connect to the thing, the film is intellectually ambitious, but failed to reach me. I suppose it had a lot to do with pacing and narrative balance. The bits are disconnected, i thing some serious revision and editing and general rhythm would have made miracles here.

The photography is intense and highly competent, though not much in the mood of what we see. Still, it’s a high mark for korean cinema. Lucky those directors, for having such artistic values at their services.

My opinion: 2/5

This comment on IMDb


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