OK Spillios... This will be a short but rather important review blog for me. Last night, an astounding 7 people came to the free screening of 3-Iron
by the Film Society (note the strong sense of sarcasm)
. Even though not a lot of mainstream movie-goers have heard of this film, I see it as one of the must-see films. Definitely one of the 10 films you need to see before you die. This is basically because of the many layers, imagery and filming techniques that make it an awe-inspiring film.
When people think of Asian cinema, a lot of people (including myself) will automatically think of Kung Fu Epics, Gun-Totting Violent Crime Thrillers or Terrifying Traditional Ghost Stories... What about the rest? Do people think of Asia when it comes to Comedy, Drama or Symbolic Pieces? I do... and this film was one of those films that made me open my eyes to other genres that Asia has to offer. My first blog was a review on Lust, Caution
by Ang Lee... another example of a non-conventional stereotype of Asian cinema by being a powerful love story in a WWII setting and using explicit sexuality unknown to most of the Asian, as well as to an extent Western, market.
Hopefully, through time, I help show my blog readers a whole new film world. So let's begin by bring out your golf clubs and a pack of tissues... Here is my review on the Kim Ki-Duk Classic '3-Iron'.
This Korean film is an unusual but beautiful fantasy tale about a young man who, through a rather ingenious if not unrealistic method, sneaks into other peoples empty homes and... basically lives in it. He does the laundry, he fixes broken objects, waters the garden etc. When he sneaks into one house to find a fragile woman hiding from her abusive husband, he defends her from this tyrant by using the husband's own 3-Iron and golf balls. They run away together, going through hardships and personal reflections along the way.
The mastermind behind this film is Kim Ki-Duk. What is so amazing about this filmmaker is that he was self-taught. He was a drifter, having many different jobs and traveling around the world. It was only until the early 1990s when he when to Paris to study photography that film became an option for him. Kim Ki-Duk is a filmmakers that breaks all the rules and redefines them. Why? Because he was never taught the rules of film in the traditional sense, and hence creates wonderfully symbolic and mind blowing stories uninfluenced by Western cinema... from his horror and crime thrillers such as Crocodile
and Bad Guy
to his coming of age tales and romance stories like The Bow
and Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... And Spring.
is a fine example of this. Here, he breaks the ideology of the importance of dialogue. Well... There really isn't any. The male lead and female lead barely speak in the film. In fact, I would say that over 2/3s of this film has no dialogue. But this is what makes it so wonderful. It is a reflection that a story doesn't need words to move it along, but even the smallest movement can create meaning. The acting, the set pieces and the whole composition of each scene is mindbogglingly spectacular filled with symbolism and sweetness. Even without words, the audience can see the characters grow either into strong confident people or into a weak crumbling state.
This film has so many visual metaphors that the film can no longer be considered as reality but a fantasy that tackles and is set with reality. Each character is a personality set in our daily lives and the set pieces are designed to simulate the senses as well as emotions. Kim Ki-Duk himself even questions whether the film is in the real world or in a dreamlike state.
I see this film as one that shows us all the things we as a modern nation take for granted everyday. It is a film that wants the modern audience to sit back and reflect on all these things, such as Traditional Values, Confidence, Silence, The Home, Everyday Errands, Food, General Kindness...
these things, like the male lead himself, are neglected, even though it is so important to everyday living. It opens your eyes and learns how to appreciate the small things.
This is a breathtakingly sweet movie that has forever touched my heart... and has even effected my thinking of life, from the first time I saw it. I believe it to be an important film that most people, even if you are not into Foreign Language films should see.