Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eras, plastic surgery and cool sculptures.

And my foreign movie, er, Asian movie streak continues. With a pair of very interesting movies hailing from Taiwan and Korea, love is given a whole new treatment.

From Taiwan, I watched Three Times, a movie with three stories; the title refers to three different eras, hence, three "times". The eras are as far back in time as 1911, as retro as 1966, and as modern as 2005, when the movie was made. In each era, we are told a different story with the same actors playing different characters in each time.

We begin in 1966, a time for love. Then we go on to 1911, a time for freedom. And finally, we are in 2005, a time for youth.

Each era introduces a love story with a theme corresponding with the time.

The time for love is the innocent beginnings of a love between a young couple.

The time for freedom is perhaps the most interesting time of all, as it is filmed with music over muted dialogue which we read. The theme of freedom is in correspondence with the story of a teahouse girl seeking her freedom through her love story with a regular visitor.

Then in 2005 we are introduced to the time for youth, in which a young woman is lost in her youth. She doesn't know what she wants or whom she wants.

It's a very interesting, slow moving film with very little dialogue. Come to think of it there's very little actual action even, but that is really the point of the movie, I think. Each story is nothing more than an introduction to love between two people, rather than an actual story with beginning, middle and end. Also, one can't ignore the different kinds of love being presented with such beauty and creativity. It's very different from anything else I've ever seen, though I can see someone finding it boring. This movie isn't for everyone.

And from Korea, I watched Time. This is like a regular movie, with one story that moves with a very interesting plot that keeps you hooked until the very end.

Its director is Kim Ki-Duk, apparently a very prominent Korean director who also did The Bow, a movie I saw not too long ago and wrote about in a previous blog post.

Time, much like The Bow is a movie filled with beauty, as this director has a way with the camera that makes one feel like they're breathing fresh air-- I simply have no other way to explain the beauty.

The movie deals with plastic surgery and its effects in a very interesting way and asks the question, "Is love only skin deep?" while adding time as a factor that might affect love. These questions linger as we are introduced to a young woman so worried that her photographer boyfriend of the last two years is tired of her looks, that she one day decides to leave him without a trace. She then gets plastic surgery, and after six months of recovery, begins to re-enter her ex-boyfriend's life without him knowing her real identity.

Much happens that makes this movie entertaining as well as provocative, and at times even creepy. I get the feeling that this director loves endings that wow, rather than just offer a plain end and/or closure. This director is truly an artist who adds sophistication to what could be just plain trashy, creepy, or disturbing.

I highly recommend this film. If for nothing else, than for the cool sculptures that are featured throughout the movie, like this one...

Unlike Kim Ki-Duk, I don't have an ending to this post that wows, so that's all for now.

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