Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Notes on Kashi (Choked) (Choked), by Kim Joon hyun, Republik Korea: 2011 , Berlin Filmfestival V.

(International Forum)

First of all, it is a film about partition. But a partition which has nothing to do with the geographical and political partition of Korea but the partition of a society, the partition of men and women, mother and children or between lovers. There are only remains of humanity and love. The film takes place in winter but the cold of the weather is nothing against the cold in these relationships.
It is one of these films you can´t imagine nothing but as an eternal winter and there is no difference between this winter as a physical cold and the winter as an allegory of a civilization on its way to its freezing death.
The film is shot in Cinemascope on digital material.
KASHI reminds me in Edward Yang´s TAIPEI STORY, a kind of films where the long shots have an explicit analytical character. None of these characters are really sympathetic, but after some time we will be able to feel at least understanding for them.
There is a mother who disappears and leaves her son and daughter behind. She is indebted to several people, including friends. There is a young woman who is divorced and who tries desperately to see her little daughter who is now raised by her ex-husband´s new wife.
Sometimes, the characters are close to a gesture of tenderness or love, but fail, this gesture freeze before they really start.
Cars, apartments, shabby back yards, offices, shabby restaurants - all these are hints that this cold social world is made by men.
The scope format gives this film often the touch of an end time vision. As the world is dominated by money, this money appears in this film only in negative form: borrowed money, or money as a result of illegal business. And there is strange analogy to the extreme emotional deficits of the characters. They even stopped dreaming of a better world. They are dying emotionally, painfully and slow piece by piece. Capitalism finally made zombies out of men.
If light is one of the basic elements of cinema, some films are telling nevertheless in a grim way about the death of the light.

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