I walk and walk the streets of Seoul. The buildings torn down. Erected anew. Simulacra in the name of ‘restoration’. False history. Fake modernity. Political gestures unfurled in front of them, like a live theater. The season of politics here is winter. Ihad to make this film during a cold winter. The wind blows from the right. The riot police lined up in the streets. Random interrogation of pedestrians. Protests approaching suicides. Some were burned to death during a demonstration. The former president killed himself. I wanted to capture that Seoul, gagged and bound. Was it Jean-Luc Godard who said, make your cinema political, instead of making a political film? I, along with my camera, my crew and cast, wandered around in Seoul. The movie’s „dead time” is the real time of Korea, the time in which our despair dwells. Goethe, Frankfurt 1774. Dostoevsky, St. Petersburg 1848. Seoul, 2009. Dead times. No more deaths. (Jung Sung-il)
I have to say that I have an allergy to quotations and post modern attitude (intertextual references, cinema for cinema’s sake and so on get on my nerves). So it’s strange to me to fall in love with a movie wich can be described as a Pastiche. The film is divided in two half with a structure reminescent of the first period Hong Sang Soo movies (and a brief excerpt of Conte de cinema makes its appearance in the first half, together with a lot of visual quotation). The first half is a strange modern adaptation of Le jeune Werther. after a beginning dangerously reminding me of the worst signs of Tonino Guerra lyrical excesses, the film takes a weird turn, becoming fresh, self deprecating, inventive, rough but never cynical. The first half reminded me of the best Hal Hartley achievement. Not a description of love but mostly of the way culture, literature and cinema has changed our way of perceive love, and represent ourselves. life as a mise en scene. (and by the way I didn’t spotted any quotations from my favourite cinematic Werther: the Ophuls one). The second half is a nearly literal representation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky White Nights. Not so much Visconti here, just a bit of Bresson, one wonderful wonderful black and white shot of the long tale told by the girl during the second night in the manner of Jean Eustache... and near the end a ballet scene not so far from the Godard’s Bande a part ballet in the bar... I know it may sound awful, but in the end i found myself cinemadrunk.