Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK

Ssaibogeujiman Gwaenchanh; Comedy, South Korea, 2006; D: Chan-wook Park, S: Su-jeong Lim, Rain, Hie-jin Choi, Byeong-ok Kim, Yong-nyeo Lee, Dal-su Oh

Young-goon is a woman who one day cuts her wrist and puts electric wires in it during work on the assembly line. She is namely convinced to be a cyborg and thus gets placed into a mental institution. There are many other patients in the asylum: a man who walks backwards, a girl who looks in the mirror imagining she sings somewhere in the Alps, a wannabe policeman and also the schizophrenic Il-soon who becomes her friend. Since Young-goon refuses to eat, thinking food will destroy her 'circuits', she gets put under electric shock. Still, Il-soon convinces her to eat. The two of them wait on a hill for thunder with an antenna.

After his acclaimed 'Vengeance' trilogy, director Chan-wook Park choose a more optimistic project, shifted 'romantic' comedy "I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK" that disappointed many. It's an unusual, but sweet little film that amusingly plays with the audiences' perception since it refuses to determine if the heroine Young-goon is a real cyborg or just crazy, especially in some elaborated sequences like the one where she imagines she shoots the whole doctor staff in the mental asylum with bullets coming from her robot fingers, until in the very next scene that all turns out to just be a daydream of hers, and in the first half it's rather charmingly funny, even adding a subtle critique of modern society, since she went crazy during one of her monotone assembly line jobs, combined with the message that unusual people need unusual approaches in their life in order to fit in. There are neat moments like the one where she talks with a lamp, asking her: "How long have you known you are a lamp?", but the sweetest situation is the one where Il-soon 'indulges' her fixation of being a cyborg by drawing a door on her back and pretending to install a device that can transform food into energy, in order to finally persuade her to eat. Still, the second half of the film is extremely overstretched and boring, loosing a lot of it's energy, while the surreal daydream fantasies are mostly pointless. It's a brave film, but it doesn't reward as much as some other brave films.



Kenneth said...

Hmm, I've heard mixed reviews about the film, but it's still something I'm looking forward to seeing when it comes out on DVD.

Marin Mandir said...

I actually enjoyed the first half of the film. But it lost it's charm half way through and thus I also lost interest in it. But who knows, maybe I'll change my mind when I see it a second time.

Kenneth said...

Just notice you've linked my blog, I've just added a link to yours. ;)