Hypnotized

asiafan Post in Drama, Korea
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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0419730

This is an amazing movie, the kind that reminds us that cinema is not only a background entertainment for eating popcorn but a (complex) form of Art. It has unique, beautiful visuals (won best cinematography prize at MIFF), and captivating soundtrack that perfectly suits the pictures, mood and story. The aching but beautiful, thrilling and sometimes erotic atmosphere itself makes it worthy to watch, but this time there’s something even more valuable underneath the artistic surface: the story.

It’s not a movie with gunfights and car chases so the plot can be summarized in one sentence. A borderline (BPD, a personality disorder) woman and her former psychiatrist meet and start to talk about their lives, and they get close and they get crazy and so on… Most of the “action” happens inside the characters, in their psyche, thoughts, feelings. But even with relatively little action there are a lot of surprises, twists in the story, nothing is what it seems to be at first. At times it can be a little difficult to know if we see reality or some imagination or hallucination of the characters but after a while it comes to light, and these “Aha!”-like moments drag us even deeper in the turmoil of passion, desire, drama and despair. But this is the kind of pain which can be enjoyed for its beauty, the same reason why people like sad songs.

Also, there are a lot of things in this movie for the thinking kind, for people who like to analyze, find reference, meaning, metaphors, symbols and so… Everything is in its place, almost every frame has a cleverly composed geometry, lighting, colors. I haven’t seen Kim In-shik’s first movie either but I will watch it soon, it must be good too. Acting is superb. I think the director/writer and actors did much research on the psychology topic as well, the portrayal of BPD and the relationship of the characters are perfectly worked out (except some exaggeration). Lead actress Kim Hye-su won an award for it in Korea.

But it’s not a movie for everyone. It’s artsy and melancholic. Don’t watch it when you’re not in the mood – it’ll be wasted. The best occasion is maybe a rainy, lonely night with a bottle of wine :) Also, it requires a certain amount of empathy, fantasy and openness. If you’ve never been depressed, lost, left alone, angry, instable, hoping, longing etc., then it’s not so easy to feel for the characters, and probably a part of the story will mean nothing to you. The imaginations of Ji-Su are connected to her feelings, her strange but somewhat coherent inner world, so it also needs some empathy to see it in context. But the movie is still enjoyable for its artistic values or as a thriller, if someone just accepts that she’s cracked and that’s the way crazy people are.

I think this film is mostly a drama and a thriller. There is some mystery in it, but it’s not so far from the “reality” of lunatic people. What makes me surprised is to see this movie put in the horror genre. Wow. There is some blood and maybe a scary scene but it’s definitely not a horror movie!  It’s sad that this movie haven’t received more international recognition, and was only shown in a few countries. It deserves much more.

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