Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Should've Kissed (2010) KAFFNY 2012
The promotional material for the film, even from the filmmakers, talks about how Jun, the lead starer, talks to a poster of Taxi Driver as if it’s a major motif in the film. It occurs only once about five minutes into the film (though dialog from the film is quoted through out). I’m guessing that it’s mentioned because that after the scene anyone who is watching the film was dead asleep.
Good looking artistic trash film of extreme close-ups, silences and monologues is a film where we watch people stare into space, recite dialog from other places and in one wild scene eat apples while sitting on a bench that looks at the Manhattan sky line.
Nothing much happens, and when it does it never goes anywhere.
The film opens with our object of veneration (Jinoh Park the writer/director who is clearly in love with himself owing to how much we just stare at his face in close up) singing a song from Chicago. He then leaves his apartment, goes to visit a friend who sits and talks at him. (This, like 95% of the film is told is single static shots, each representing a complete scene)
We watch a woman try to pick some one up, which turns out to be an audition, but when it goes the way she doesn’t like she leaves and ends upon the sidewalk distraught.
Jun, sees her and asks her if she is okay. They go off together.
They wander and say nothing.
They sit on a bench and loudly crunch apples.
He sings a song in silhouette.
She packs a suitcase.
They have dinner. She talks, he doesn’t.
Somewhere, some how, they end up in an apartment (I don’t know exactly I was fighting to stay awake) where some one juggles, she sleeps on the couch and later she quotes dialog.
He ends up walking the street. He stops. After along while he sits and counts “summers”(One summer , two summer…) and then stares at something off screen. He stares for a long time. Fade to black. Cue Regina Spektor song and end credits which run over 8 minutes.(After Regina Spektor they play a Sigur Ros song).
Yes, I watched the entire end credits- TWICE. Why? Because there was more motion in those 8 minutes then there was more motion than in the previous 71.(And the music was pretty good too)
Jinoh Park is described in some of the promotional material as an auteur. He’s made this feature and a couple of shorts and he’s an auteur? Bull shit. You know what an auteur is don’t you? A director who makes boring movies no one would watch unless they are sold to suckers as meaningful. (Actually the film is an auteur debut, how do you debut as an auteur if you haven't made a film)
I can't stress this enough: this movie is boring.
It’s so boring that a couple of times I started to search the web while watching. I could do this because so little happens, even visually, that odds are if you looked away to say check your email (or bake a cake), that when you looked back things will be exactly as you left them. I got to the point where I looked up when there was a sound change. Even during the monologues things are static shots. To get through the film all you need to do is play Angry Birds on your phone and listen… I mean there are no reaction shots during monologue scenes… and even if there were it would be pointless, since, with rare exception, the two leads play things with stony expressions on their faces.
It looks more like portraiture then cinema.
Things would be okay if there was a way to decipher motivation and emotion through the stares, but as I said everyone is stony so there are no visual clues. Frankly Buster Keaton, the great Stone Face, emotes more than these people. Then again we could watch his body language, something we are expressly denied by the constant, eternal facial close-ups.
This film should be given out as a non-addictive means to end insomnia.
I stayed to the end because I couldn’t believe that KAFFNY was screening this. There had to be some AH HA moment at the end. I mean I had seen 4 other films from the festival and enjoyed them…there had to be a reason this was being run at the festival…
I’ll be damned to know what it is other than the writer/director/star is Korean and it’s set in New York.
Looking at the promotional material this film appears to have screened in 2010 at a festival in Korea and never again until now. I completely understand why.
I hate ripping this film apart. It does look good (even if it’s static). The performances under other circumstances would be quite good. Even the monologues are well written. The problem is the self absorbed package and the pacing don’t work. It’s long and draggy and there is no clue to much of anything about Kun. I suspect that this came from a screenplay that explained a great deal of motivation and actions in a way that never translated to the screen. As it stands now this is 15 or 20 minute film not a 71 minute one (The official run time of 80 minutes includes the 9 minute end credits)
Avoid this one