Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Missing Person-The Korean Cultural Service film for this week (plus word on the NYAFF)

I attended the Korean Cultural Service screening of Missing Person tonight at the Tribeca Cinemas.

As Grady Hendrix from the New York Asian Film Festival said, its "a film you admire more than like". He added it's a "feel bad film of the highest order".

I think it's a well made, well acted film. Its a great little film on pretty much all the technical aspects. It's a film that really makes you feel miserable and hopeless.

Unfortunately the film itself is ultimately utterly pointless. I don't know why it needed to be 95 minutes since you know minute one what it's saying only they repeat it for an hour and a half.

The film concerns a real estate agent who is a real jerk. He's having an affair with a high school girl; he's sleeping with one woman who neglects her daughter; he's also sleeping with another woman who is the mother of his children; plus he is having other affairs. As life pushes down on him, he takes it out on a mentally challenged man he hires to hang up posters of missing dogs (and later people). Everyone is abusing someone with the lowest man taking it out on kids, dogs and some of the people who are abusing the real estate agent. It's told with an eye toward cold black humor.

The trouble is the round robin of abuse doesn't go anywhere, it's just a collection of cruelties and shocks (trust me, you don't want to know what is spread on trees to attract dogs) designed purely to get a rise out of the audience.

What is the point?

I don't know. There is no pay off or revelation only cruelty. While I despise a film like the Oscar nominated Dogtooth (find it stupid beyond words), I at least can see how it can be argued that there is a point to it. This film doesn't have one. There is no revelation that couldn't have been seen five minutes in. (For the record do I like this film way more than Dogtooth- even though I find it pointless).

I can't recommend it, even to people who like films that just push buttons.

I think this is the only real miss from the Korean Cultural Service this year.Having seen the next two films in the series, I can honestly say that this misfire seems to be a one off.

Onward and upward.


Before the film I got a couple of minutes to talk to Grady about the up coming New York Asian Film Festival. In answer to the emails I've received, Grady said the schedule and list of films should be announced Thursday (as previously announced), though a small possibility is that it will take place Friday. He said there that pretty much everything is in place but one small detail needs to be ironed out.

I did not press for additional titles simply because I'm sooooo looking forward to going to the festival that I would have blown the reveal and told you everything before they were ready.

I will post the schedule here as soon as I get it. You should also be checking Subway Cinema News and the Subway Cinema Twitter account

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