Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A few brief comments on NOBODY"S DAUGHTER HAEWAN (2013) New York Film Festival

The audience takes stock in knowing they survived
I have very little to say about this film so I'm going to say it and get the hell off...

This is the story of Haewan who'smother moves to Canada to live with her brother. Saddened she calls up her old lover, a film director/professor with whom she had a torrid affair and who had to leave her because his wife had a baby. They circle around each other for 90 minutes before the film ends with probably the biggest what the hell was that? ending of the year which wrecked any chance of a good review (trust me it ruins an already weak film).

Looking like director Sang-soo Hong's other films in particular Hahaha and Oki's Movie (which I've recently seen) except more obviously shot with digital equipment (watch the zooms)  this film is basically a series of conversations between our heroine and various other persons in long takes.  The film is so much like the earlier films that I swear you could mix and match the characters between the films to get one uber film with no sense it was different movies cut together. ( I've heard of directors remaking the same movie over and over again but this is ridiculous)

The conversation largely focuses on why the couple broke up and what happened after that- there is no real talk of what happened before. Much of the dialog is variations on the same conversation over and over again, with most of the male characters saying the same things.That's about it. You could remove the first 15 minutes with her mother and not change the film at all.

Characters appear and disappear- the professor from the US, the book store guy despite seeming to be important disappear completely after their introductions. They seem more like filler than real characters.

The film runs for almost 90 minutes before we get a final shot and a non sequiter statement that made everyone but one at the screening I attended wonder what the hell it was all about. It confuses everything that went before and seems to mean nothing much like the Nobody's Daughter in the title (perhaps it refers to a film it seems very few people likes). Even allowing that some of this maybe a dream its still WTF.

In fairness I will say that one guy at the press screening loved it and went on for 20 minutes on its glories but he seems to be seeing something that I just couldn't find- nor could anyone else I talked to..

Personally I liked it be grudgingly until the end derailed it. Ultimately its kind of okay but if you ask me its utterly pointless and a complete waste of time.

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