Tuesday, May 31

Ha Ha Ha (South Korea, 2010)

Because last Saturday's drink up was strange. "Drinking down memory lane," a drunken text message, slurred across time (the flooding of memory) and space (physical, in a dingy, hole-in-a-wall home for soju drunks; the empty chair reserved for someone)---a text message which I had insisted was brilliant, and not much later, the succumbing of a dear (old) friend to my insisting and to lovelorn plot twists that is, was, or will be our lives.

And so, Hong Sang-soo's Ha Ha Ha as refrain, a breathing, stuttering drunk of a film that vibrates with wit, middle-aged bravery (that surfaces at the brink of toppling over), and endearing strangeness, like drunken kisses and pulling grass from the ground in a fit of anger.


What a relief for a film to just ramble on about connections, great legs, and poetry. (A character in Oki's Movie, the film that followed Ha Ha Ha, said that he would like his film to be viewed as an experience similar to getting to know a person. That meaning may not be important. Ask aloud, What is the meaning of Ha Ha Ha? See?) The sharper ones will be mentally drawing charts and connecting dotty symbolism. The lucky ones will just pour another shot and laugh along with the end credits.


Thursday, February 10

Sudkhet Salet Pet (Thailand, 2011)

Sudkhet Salet Pet (สุดเขต สเลดเป็ด)
Director Reukchai Puangpetch
Starring Pae Arak Amornsupasiri (Slice), Khom Chuan Chuen, Koeti Aramboy (Hor Taew Tek 3), Tukkie Sudara Butrprom (First Love)

Pae Arak works his indie boy cred with awkward eccentric charm that when he first shows up and throws silly lines (at warp speed) at a security guard who slings back retorts with spitfire gusto, it's golden. Mindless golden. But who cares when the comic timing is this hyper good. The laughable loves make a lot of noise with the wit-slapstick combo, roaring through scenes like a string of sitcom segments but strangely enough, it never feels disjointed. Maybe it's the relaxed pace, the weightlessness of the film itself that disarms critic defenses and instead makes you root for these gang of losers no matter how obvious the ending is. It's also Pae Arak and his guitar and the mumblecore songs. But if there's one thing that's clear, Boy, Tukkie and Pae do make an interesting band, a little bit like early Magic Numbers with a dash of Aqua. Okay. So it might not work at all. ***

Photo from the film's Facebook Fanpage