Sunday, December 09, 2007

Totem (a/k/a Heavenly Path)

Totem (a/k/a Heavenly Path) (2006; dir. Kim Eung-su) 2
This was a strange documentary: with a subject clearly taking an interest in the production, the expected objectiveness of the camera’s eye (and the films other participants) quickly falls by the wayside. Often—if unintentionally—more focused on the subject’s character than her craft, the film follows a shaman attempting to induct a new recruit into the demanding tradition. It’s an interesting character study, if not particularly engaging.

The Show Must Go On

The Show Must Go On (2007; dir. Han Jae-rim) 3
This Song Kang-ho vehicle fell a little flat for us; perhaps the gangster-genre characters were just too worn out. A down-on-his-luck gangster, trying to support his family, goes down an increasingly dark path of desperation and violence towards an all-too-inevitable conclusion. The music score left one wondering whether the film was a comedy or a drama: its heavy-handedness failed to achieve any intentions of ambiguity.