Relaxed Berlinale Thursday

18Feb11

Yesterday was a nice evening with two very different movies, from two very different areas of the world.

I loved Man Chu (Late Autumn)! It’s maybe my favourite film during this year’s Berlinale (together with En Terrains Connus, Into the White Night and Unjust…).  A very sensible movie, but never sentimental. Korean director Kim Tae-Yong tells a love story set in Seattly between a Anna that is serving a sentence for murder who meets a callboy, Hoon, during three days of leave to attend her mother’s funeral.

Much has been written about the wonderfully scripted and shot scene at an amusement park. But many other moments come to mind, from the unexpected ghost hunting tour at a local farmer’s market to the hillarious funeral dinner. The woman’s family situation is masterly depicted: what happens with the house after the mother’s death? what have relatives told their partners about the woman? All this combined with the woman’s own troubled world of how to deal with her situation, being free but not free at all. Impressing the scene when she receives the call on the cell phone she received to surveil her. But also Hoon’s life, hidden beneath a smiling mask of the person who does “everything you ask for”, is slowly changing rails after meeting Anna.

The film is embedded in a stream of melancholy, with opaque colour tones, and the weather masterly reflecting the moods of the  moment. He sure has watched Wong-Kar Way, but he does finds his own language and has the help of the great actors Tang Wei and Hyun Bin. You may have to be in the mood for an emotional film, but if you are, you will be rewarded. Hao.

State of Violence is an engaged movie from South Africa about a successful businessman who seeks revenge after his wife was killed. Nick-named “Terror” he goes back to the township he grew up to confront his past and find the killer. It is a slow-paced thriller that reveiling the gap that still exists between those who made it, and those who remain stuck.  A bit more background for those unfamiliar with the details of recent South African history would have helped, and some details of the films narrative don’t seem really credible. I don’t think that driving around with a new Mercedes in a townsip is a very good idea when you try to find a killer… But all in all, some very moving and strong scenes, reflecting how difficult it often is to apologise and let the past be the past.

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