Wednesday, February 24, 2010

L'abri: Lovers Refuge (200?)

Many if not most of the Asian films I stumble up I pick up at random from some of the stores in New York's Chinatown. I will see a DVD with a cover that looks interesting and depending upon the type of movie it is I'll just pick it up and give it ago. Some times that works and some times I crash and burn. Mostly I am pleasantly surprised. (I will watch films without subtitles even when I don't speak the language, however if it looks like dialog dramas I tend to pass when they don't have a translation)

This is one of those films that I picked up blind. I had no idea what the film was but it looked pretty good so I gave it a shot.

What follows if from a LiveJournal post on the film. I don't think the film has an IMDB listing nor have I found anyone having written about the film, in English anyway.

The LJ follows:

Korean "love" story begins with a teacher at what appears to be a high school or cram school. We watch as he teaches the kids literature and they try to take it in and eventually wander off. He goes through life, not talking to his friends making excuses for not going out with the other teachers, one of which really fancies him. Occasionally he visits a prostitute where he has deep and meaningful conversations that he doesn't have with anyone else. The film resets and starts over at the point where he meets a beautiful new student. The film then follows as we watch the new student come to the school. We also watch as she has dates with older men who give her things. One night when she tries to break it off with one guy she is followed by a man into the subway where she meets the teacher as we had seen previously. Once the film has played things out from the point of view of the two characters the film then sets off again this time following both characters at once. What transpires is a slowly developing bond of friendship between two very broken souls. There are long silences that are often broken by dark revelations. Over time the pair become close.

Very good romance of a sort that has a ring of truth to it. I know I could relate to the relationship and was occasionally uncomfortable for that reason. This is not a typical film and its nothing that we'd ever really see in a film from Hollywood or Western cinema. The characters are not always easy to take. They have odd ticks and don't say much which I know will drive people up a tree. Also likely to make people crazy is that things are not explained. Things happen, but its not always clear where they are coming from or going to. Its kind of like life. Is it a great film? Probably not; but it is a very good one. It is a film that is the best sort of film, one that hangs with you and doesn't really leave your consciousness.

I have no idea if this film will play by you or show up on DVD, but if it does it's something to keep an eye out for since it's good and the sort of thing that you will not have seen before.

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