Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

This is the second non-English language film - the first being the Russian 'Nightwatch' - that I've seen this year which seems to have broken the 'world cinema' mould. What I mean is, that although there were elements that did relate strongly to the Korean origin of the film, they didn't dominate. Sometimes watching 'world cinema' (what a patronising term that is) I just feel culturally lost - that despite the subtitles the film is still in another language. This was not the case with 'Lady Vengeance', I felt like I 'got it'; it wasn't an effort to watch. Actually, that's a lie, it was an effort to watch as it was an incredibly emotionally and morally complex film. Maybe then the real difference is: what I got out of it was worth the effort I put in. I'm sure some people would say that this means the film has lost its 'native-ness' and has moved to appeal to wider sensibilities through becoming more 'Western'. I'm just going to have to disagree with that. I think it is about the movie industries in certain countries starting to get past their teenage angst and starting to get everything in line to make some high quality, high production values, true 'cinema'.

Anyway, back to 'Lady Vengeance'.....urrrr..... where do I start?

The light - white, but soft, like the light reflected off snow. Slowly turns more towards umber as the plot develops and then back to white. Shows off the red of her eye-shadow, her white skin and black hair.

Brilliant cinematography - on more than one occasion we had to pause the film and rewind to just check out what had just been done. The best 'little' moment was the pulling of a shot out from a street-scape and into a room - can't explain why but was just magnificent.

Geum-Ya - Lady Vengeance herself - so terribly manipulative and evil but her retribution is only proportional to the evil that has been done to her and others that she encounters. Wonderful poetic justice of her vengeance means that this is not a 'gore fest' as the reviews state but a vendetta of greek tragic proportions.

Oh this is a useless post - just go and see the film. Then do what I'm going to do and work back through Director Chan-Wook Parks back catalogue..

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