Monday, May 9, 2011

Re-Encounter (2010)- The first film in the Korean Cultral Service's Independent Film series

This is the first of four independent Korean films that are running as part of the Korean Cultural Service's series at the Tribeca Cinemas. Re-encountered will be screening tomorrow night at 7PM and it's worth making the trek down to the cinema to see it.

Hyehwa is living a quiet life as a veterinarian's assistant. She shuttles between home, taking care of the local strays and her office. One day while setting a trap to catch a dog in need of care she is confronted by her high school boyfriend. He tells her rather unceremoniously that the baby they thought had died five years earlier was, in fact, still alive. To say that this bombshell upsets her life is an understatement.

This is a quietly powerful film the story spins out as we see how our past has a habit of sneaking up on us and how lies and misunderstanding can shatter our existence. It's a film that is very much un-Hollywood in that there are no simple answers, there is just life.

I think part of the reason that it works as well as it does because the film is not full of big stars. For me, someone who has seen a large number of Korean films, the faces and places of the film seemed to be completely new.(Think of how you react to a small independent film as opposed to one with Brad Pitt) I don't really recall seeing anyone before, though I'm sure I probably have. For me everyone seemed to be real people I was meeting for the first time. It was like spying on the lives of all of the characters.

I liked how there is also a naturalness to how the layers of the story are peeled away. The film jumps back and forth through time shows as bit by bit the true nature of what is going on. There are no grand Hollywood swings between now and then, just a simple moving through time much in the same way out brains shift through what is happening now and what happened a while back. The result is an emotional state that is very much awkward and odd,a state that is a mirror of what our heroine is feeling. It helps to put a nice kick in the tail of the film. (It will move you when its all said and done)

I don't want to over sell this film. It's not a big splashy drama, it's a small gem of a movie. It's the sort of thing that needs a special showcase like since I don't think it would be seen in the US otherwise. I say this because as good as the film is, it's the sort of thing that probably can't get a US release since it's not a film with free flowing blood and bullets. Basically its the sort of film that Unseen Films was started to highlight.

If you're in the mood for a small scale drama that will engage you and make you feel something; and you happen to be in New York City tomorrow night, get yourself down to the Tribeca Cinemas and see this little gem. It won't change your life but it will entertain you and leave you feeling like you've actually seen something of substance.

Doors open at 630 and the film starts at 7PM. Just walk in and tell them you're there for the free film.

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