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Monday, May 31, 2010

Cannes Day 6: Lee Chang Dong's Poetry

Been busy writing my masters thesis (due end of June), giving my mid-term thesis presentation in Wednesday (just two days after I got back from Cannes) and being repeatedly pestered to give advice for someone else's graduate film project that I had no time to update my blog.

19th of May. Went to the gala screening of Lee Chang Dong's Poetry. That was probably the highlight of that day, I can't remember anything else from that day.

Lee Chang Dong's Poetry

Early in the morning we went to Cannes on a train again.

Fooi Mun in a train

We had 45 invitations for THE TIGER FACTORY screening. So it was up to us to start giving out the invitations to people we know.

(And that was also why we needed actress Fooi Mun to dress up prettily.)

At the Cannes Market, we bumped into our old friend Paolo.

Ming Jin, Tomoko, Fooi Mun and Paolo

Ming Jin, Paolo, Fooi Mun and me

And so Paolo got an invitation to the screening.

44 to go.

We walked around the market, looking at the booths. How funny it was, most directors who got into Cannes would most probably be chillin' in their hotel rooms, or being bombarded by interview requests, appearing at important functions, going around for some nice city tours in a limo (at least, that's what I assume directors who got selected by Cannes would be doing then), and we were wandering aimlessly in the market.

"There comes a day when we will NOT have to do the aimless wandering in the market again!" I declared haughtily. "And a sales representative of ours will do the aimless wandering instead!"

Night came. Ming Jin, Tomoko and I headed to the gala screening of Lee Chang Dong's POETRY. Poor Fooi Mun couldn't get a ticket, so I asked assistant producer Yuiko to come over and accompany her instead.

I've always liked Lee Chang Dong's films because I thought they are very emotionally intense, and have some sort of a novelistic quality (which comes from his roots as a novelist, I guess).

I remember how I first saw PEPPERMINT CANDY on SBS in Perth during my university days, it could be 2005, or 2006. Was so taken away by its scope and intensity that the film haunted me for quite a while.

His subsequent works, OASIS and SECRET SUNSHINE, are pretty heartrending. I liked Jeon Do-Yeon's performance in the latter film so much that prior to shooting my short film LOVE SUICIDES, I gave my lead actress Kimmy a copy of the film (she a Korean film buff too, and had spent half a year living in Korea) for reference. But then, to single out Jeon Do-Yeon would be unfair since most lead performances in Lee Chang Dong's films are masterful, like Moon So-Ri's in OASIS.

POETRY was no exception, when the film ended I was not only left a little teary-eyed by the film's (sorry) poetic ending, but also mesmerized by Yoon Jeong-Hee's lead performance as the tragic granny. The film would eventually win a BEST SCREENPLAY award in Cannes. However, I think the film could have been a little quicker paced, and I personally still prefer SECRET SUNSHINE.


My initial interpretation of the ending was that, even though Granny had secured the money to pay off the victim's mother, she remained stricken with guilt. So in the end she decided to report her grandson's crime to the cops. The badminton match she had with grandson was really just to set him up for the cops. She brought grandson to eat pizza, and clipped grandson's toenails, not really to prepare him for meeting his mother, but really to prep him for jail. That's what I thought. I think I'm probably the only one though.


At night I had raw beef for dinner.

Raw beef

It was interesting, but I think I prefer its cooked counterpart.

With Jeremy.

Having dinner with Jeremy at night