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Monday, November 20, 2006

Silk Shoes 비단구두

Poster of Silk Shoes

Silk Shoes (비단구두), a 2006 Korean film directed by Yeo Kyun-Dong (a Korean who shares my surname? Incredible!) is about an elaborate hoax staged by a film director on a gangster's aging father to make the latter believe that he was returning to his home in North Korea.

The movie began with director Park Man-Soo (Choi Duk-Moon), who had a huge debt to pay the gangsters after his last film had bombed badly in the box-office, he was to be released from his debts if the director could help the gang boss fulfill his (the gang boss's) father's dream of returning to North Korea. Of course, to really return to North Korea would involve lots of legal procedures and such (I think), thus Man-Soo has to fake a trip to North Korea by dressing areas of South Korea to make them look like the old man's hometown near Gaema Plateau.

The old man, Old Bae, was afflicted by Alzheimer's (according to Lovehkfilm.com, but dementia according to Koreanfilm.org), entirely delusional (and crazy?), he was incapable of differentiating fact and fiction, often mistaking Man-Soo as his son, or seeing (and talking to) people of his past. Accompanying Man-Soo in this journey were Seong-Chul (Lee Sung-Min), a gangster who was meant to serve as an 'enforcer' to ensure that Man-Soo would finish his job, and sassy actress (Kim Da-Hye). Despite their initial differences, everyone would finally work together for the old man.

Another poster of Silk Shoes Film is more a dramedy, occasionally funny, yet filled with sad undertones of loneliness. I was bored at first, but started getting more and more drawn into it. More subtle and natural than the usual Korean films, one of the film's biggest joys was watching the gradual development of the bond between Man-Soo and Seong-Chul, which was very understated but realistic.

I would've said that this is a really good film, much different from the more commercial, superstar vehicles Korea has been churning out lately, yet because this is not a mainstream film, it had a surprisingly confusing ending that totally threw me off, somehow diminishing my enjoyment of the film. Its ambiguity made it open for interpretation (or maybe the film would've been easier to understand if I weren't following the Chinese subtitles), and reinforcing the film's theme of being more about the journey than the destination. In fact, I myself employed the same sort of ending for my own short film, Girl Disconnected, yet I was just too unprepared to accept the unconventional ending. Not great, not bad, just a little film that might linger.

Trailer of Silk Shoes

Related Entries:

Twitch: Silk Shoes involved in wage payment delay scandal

Lovehkfilm: Silk Shoes Review
They like it.

Koreanfilms.org: Silk Shoes Review
Darcy Paquet goes even more in-depth with his review, exposing how superficial and untrained I am.

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