As Korean films become ever more expensive and elaborate to produce, there are also a growing number of independent films being shot on digital video for a fraction of the cost. Camel(s) was shot with a single camera and ten crew members over the course of 12 days. Edited by the director with PC Premiere, the film ultimately cost only 98 million won ($75,000) to produce, yet at overseas festivals and increasingly in Korea it has become one of the most talked-about art films of the year. Director Park Ki-yong’s previous film Motel Cactus (1997) — his debut work — was set in a motel room where four couples came to talk, make love, argue, and struggle with their feelings. Whereas the film’s plot was confined to the space of the hotel, its lush cinematography by renowned cinematographer Christopher Doyle dominated and at times overpowered the narrative. Camel(s) takes a different track in using a black and white digital image and a completely static camera, which focuses the viewer’s attention on the characters and ultimately makes for a stronger film.
As the film opens we see a middle aged man and woman meet in front of the airport and drive off on a trip to an island. On the way, the man asks the woman her name. After realizing they won’t have time to make the ferry, the couple end up spending the evening in a port city and going to a motel.
Long silences run through the film, as we follow the couple driving in the car or withdrawing money from bank machines, with much of their conversation occurring at meals. In their nervous gestures and awkward dialogue we learn much about them, however. Much of this is thanks to the extraordinary acting of the two leads: Lee Dae-yeon, who has taken supporting roles in films such as JSA and YMCA Baseball Team, and theatre actress Park Myung-shin. Their acting is so natural and convincing that it’s easy to forget we are watching a film.
Part of the movie’s fascination is that there is very little exposition outside of the couple’s conversations. To understand their backgrounds and why they agreed to meet, we have to listen very closely to what they say and slowly piece things together. The film requires patience from the viewer, but ironically just as we begin to feel intimate with the characters, we sense a distance growing between them. Ultimately Camel(s) is an honest portrayal of two middle-aged people who are searching for something hard to articulate… the kind of characters seldom found in Korean films. —http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm02.html#camels
"Its Very Convenient Here" This is one for all the selfish acts we can share and to let the question be can we take it again together? This sentiment can be shared simply but as much as who they were together there was still so much sentiment there. This is a brilliant portrait of those in need in the end (slight spoiler) it felt as if they got to feel safe together and really thats so much...
A wisely observed brief encounter. Ki-Yong Park has a great understanding of people that reach "that certain age" and how strangers can sometimes act as mirrors, reflecting parts of yourself you wasn't aware of before hand (positive and negative). If Chekhov made films, you can guarantee they would look a little like this.