Happy Hour (2015)

Ryusuke Hamaguchi once said he doesn’t believe there is no such thing as pure fiction or pure documentary. In a way, <Happy Hour> represents this philosophy of his. Thanks to the quiet camera work and the sheer length of the movie (5 hours), the characters are fully realized and so realistic that even after the […]

Nope (2022)

The relationship between camera and object is complicated. In the movie <Nope>, this relationship seems to be about consumption of ideas and images. The movie starts with a dark square-shaped tunnel that shows a Black jockey on a galloping horse. Later in the movie, this tunnel turned out some sort of an organ of a […]

Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020)

Depicting historic events in an art form is not an easy challenge. For movies, directors have to walk the fine line between over-dramatizing/-fictionalizing and being didactic or documentary-like. They also have very little room in terms of the plot because the events already occurred. Regardless of these challenges, <Quo Vadis, Aida?> rises to the top. […]

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

In my teenage years, I practically grew up with Joe Hisaishi’s music including the soundtrack of <My Neighbor Totoro>. I’ve always loved the soundtrack but I was never really interested in watching the movie. I just thought the synopsis sounded too simple and plain; a story of two young girls and their interaction with a […]

Stowaway (2021)

This movie is about moral dilemma and survival in space. In terms of the latter, it has some scenes that reminded me of The Martian (2015) and Gravity (2013). Thanks to the great cast, the element of moral dilemma was also portrayed in a decent way but the problem is that the movie tried packing […]

Promising Young Woman (2020)

Promising Young Woman is a flashy (not as much as Lady Vengeance) revenge film but it’s not a typical one. In contrast to many vengeance films where the main motivation originates from loss of close family members, usually spouses or children, this is about friendship. Also, it looks violent and yet Cassie definitely has a […]

Minari (2020)

It’s been several months since I watched the movie. It was very difficult to write about Minari soon after I first watched it. As a first generation Korean immigrant living in the US, there were numerous scenes in the movie, which conjured up my memories and emotions. Because everything felt so personal, it was difficult […]

Ash Is Purest White / 江湖儿女 (2018)

The original title is 江湖儿女; “Sons and Daughters of Jianghu”. During the movie, I felt fortunate that I was familiar with Jianghu, which was also mentioned in the movie several times. I’ve heard of the word Jianghu (江湖, or 강호 in Korean) growing up in 80s and 90s mostly from Hong Kong action cinema. In […]

Saint Maud (2019)

If you just watch the trailer, Saint Maud seems a bit like Stephen King’s Misery. Someone wants to take care of a person but in fact, they want complete control of the person’s life; it’s a familiar story. However, Saint Maud is more than that; it’s about Maud’s tragic delusion and her failure of saving […]

Young Ahmed (2019)

For some viewers, the Dardenne brother’s movies don’t seem dramatic enough because they are so documentary-like and realistic that they often don’t even have any music at all. However, the raw and realistic approach pulls the audience immediately to the characters’ world where things are dire and difficult. And this unfortunate experience that the characters […]