What have you seen lately at SFX Cinema Chiang Mai?
Chiang Mai movies beginning Thursday, September 2, 2010
… through Wednesday, September 8
by Thomas Ohlson
Best Bets: Three Colors.
Two years from now!
This is Issue Number 44 of Volume 5 of these listings.
EU Film Festival in Bangkok: Oct 21 to 31.
1st Doi Saket International Film Festival: Oct 23 to 30. http://dsiff.tumblr.com/films
World Film Festival in Bangkok: Nov 5 to 14.
Bangkok International Film Festival: Nov 19 to 29.
EU Film Festival in Chiang Mai: Early November.
Luang Prabang Film Festival in Luang Prabang: Dec 4 to 11. Open air, free, 30 films. www.lpfilmfest.org
The SFX Cinema Chiang Mai
In digging up information on Think Park (under discussion as the location for our EU Film Festival this year), I was reminded that the SF Group, owner of Thailand’s second largerst chain of movie theaters, is planning to open a Cineplex in Chiang Mai in the not too distant future in a new Central mall. The mall, called Central Festival Chiang Mai, is planned for the space just across Huay Kaew Road from Think Park – and diagonally across the intersection from the Amari Rincome Hotel.
The site for the shopping center was actually cleared a couple of years ago ready for construction to begin by Central Pattana (CPN), Thailand’s leading shopping-complex developer. But then Central announced that the plan had temporarily been placed on hold due to a downturn in consumer spending together with an increase in the cost of building materials – and, oh, political turmoil of one kind or another.
But at last report plans are back on track for an opening sometime during the final quarter of 2012 – two years away. In addition to the new Central department store will be a 3.3 billion baht shopping area of 46,500 square meters, a plaza, and a parking building for 1,600 cars – all spread over a site of 70 rai. That will make it the biggest shopping complex in Norther Thailand.
It’s not clear what the future will hold for the Kad Suan Kaew shopping center, home to a Central department store in Chiang Mai for many years. It’s officially now the largest shopping center in Chiang Mai, and includes a hotel, bowling alley, and the remaining Vista cinemas.
The SFX Cinema Chiang Mai opening currently seems to be scheduled for the final quarter of 2012. Let’s see, that should mean just in time for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 starring, you guessed it, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Steward, Taylor Lautner, and BooBoo Stewart, due to open November 15, 2012.
The question I have is whether anyone has seen any activity in the area there that would indicate things are underway. If you have seen anything or know anything, please let us know. I went traipsing around the site yesterday, and didn’t see any signs of activity.
Now playing in Chiang Mai * = new this week
* From Pakse with Love / Sabaidee 2: Mai Me Kamtob Jak Pakse / สะบายดี 2: ไม่มีคำตอบจาก…ปากเซ: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – 1 hr 40 mins – A follow-up sweet picture postcard from Laos following the first sweet picture postcard from Laos in this planned trilogy, 2008’s Sabaidee Luang Prabang. That movie starred Ananda Everingham, and was the first feature film made in Laos in 20 years. This one stars Ray Macdonald and Laotian beauty queen Khamly Philavong, reprising her role from the first film as a charming tour guide.
Wise Kwai: Ray plays a struggling filmmaker named Por who agrees to take a job shooting a wedding video in Pakse, a major city along the Mekong River in scenic southern Laos. There, he meets the comely tour guide played by Khamly.
It's actually a prequel, according to The Nation's Parinyaporn Pajee. She attended the movie's August 22-23 premiere in Pakse, which is one of only three cities in Laos that has a multiplex.
Here's more about Ray's character:
"I can understand how my character feels. I was out of work for a while and people treated me differently. "I'm amazed at Por's resilience. He has a tough life but he has never given up on making his beloved movie. And he doesn't blame anyone for his troubles," says Ray, who is tackling comedy for the first time.
"I usually play complex characters, so complex that even my mother and brother often ask me why I can't choose a project that they'll have less trouble understanding. So this film is for my family," he says.
"We always see Ray in a serious role, but I think his real personality is cheerful and relaxed. In this role, he is more than that. He's like a mixture of Stephen Chow and Jim Carrey," says Sakchai.
Read on for Sakchai's plans to work more in Laos and help build up that country's industry.
* Ngao / เงา / Shadow: Thai, Horror/ Thriller – 1 hrs 23 mins – An anthology horror film which tells four stories of sins and the consequences of what will happen if you commit a sin. Rated 18+ in Thailand. At Vista only, and in Thai only.
* [Opening tomorrow – Friday, Sep 3] Machete: US, Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Thriller – 1 hr 45 mins – Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez. The highly skilled “Mexican Federale,” Machete, is hired by some unsavory types to assassinate a US senator. But just as he's about to take the shot, he notices someone aiming at him and realizes he's been set up. He barely survives the sniper's bullet, and is soon out for revenge on his former employers, with the reluctant assistance of his old friend Cheech Marin, who has become a priest and taken a vow of nonviolence. If you hire him to take out the bad guys, make sure the bad guys aren't you! Rated R in the US for strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content, and nudity.
It’s interesting how this film came about. The film was based on the fake trailer featured before Robert Rodriguez's double feature Grindhouse (2007), and Planet Terror (2007), which I thought was a hoot. The double bill was co-produced by Quentin Tarantino, who is also a producer of this film. According to IMDb, the ”Machete” trailer was the most popular of all of the Grindhouse fake trailers and drew a mass following. I remember those trailers well!
Rodriguez was so inspired by it’s popularity that he took an original script he wrote in 1993 and adapted it into this feature film. Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey and Cheech Marin who are featured in the fake trailer reprise their roles for this film as well. Rodriguez has stated in interviews that about 99% of the footage from the fake trailer is used in this feature film and the story line hasn’t been changed but added to, so new characters (Steven Seagal, Alba, De Niro, and Lindsay Lohan) could be involved.
Of the other fake trailers and advertisements featured in the Grindlhouse film, "Thanksgiving" directed by Eli Roth was the other one that turned out to be very popular. It is now in development to be made into a full length film.
Slant, Nick Schager: The gimmick that serves as Machete's reason for existing—namely, that it's meant to resemble a forgotten '70s relic—is, after stylized opening credits and first-reel scratch and burn marks, barely employed. Consequently, Rodriguez's mayhem plays out in an uncomfortable alterna-verse where wink-wink Grindhouse-style period affectations and genre allusions (such as Lohan dressing up as a nun, Ms. 45-style, for no reason) exist side by side with straight-faced, cleanly shot set pieces like Machete swinging between hospital windows via a henchman's intestines.
Unlike the infinitely more entertaining Piranha 3D, which recognized that its down-and-dirty predecessors' greatest asset was their willingness to challenge boundaries in service of tawdry eroticism and gross-out gore, Rodriguez's faux B-movie doesn't push the comedic or violent envelope nearly far enough to generate base thrills. Rather, it feigns outrageousness while too often opting to earnestly indulge in the very badass poses and sincere political sermonizing it should be delivering with tongue firmly in cheek, if not outright sending up.
Piranha 3-D: US, Action/ Horror/ Thriller – Terror on the lake. “Boobs and blood,” that’s what Director Alexandre Aja promised and that’s what he delivered in spades. Don’t even think about trying to count the kills, or the boobies. Rated R in the US for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language, and some drug use; 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews: 53/49 out of 100. (Bold scores are from Metacritic / light scores from Rotten Tomatoes.)
Please, if you go, don’t bring the kiddies!! In the US there’s been considerable controversy because parents haven’t taken the R rating seriously, and have ended up with traumatized kids. Probably for life.
Shown in 3D, but it’s not real 3D; 3D effects were added in post production. Only at Airport Plaza.
The sort-of plot: After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of prehistoric man-eating fish, a group of strangers band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the summer resort area's new razor-toothed residents. “The most irresistibly sick movie in years.” With Richard Dreyfuss in the cast – you remember him, the original battler of things in the water that bite, Jaws.
St. Petersburg Times, Steve Persall: The most irresistibly sick movie in years.
Cinematic horror archive, Dave J. Wilson: One of my biggest gripes is the 3D. For an extra $3 I expect to be blown away. Sure it doesn’t sound like much, but it almost doubles the ticket price. There were a few instances of noticeable 3D effects, but mostly I was scratching my head and squinting trying to figure out what I was missing, and why I was wearing the glasses. Although having a $24 million budget, they could not afford to film in 3D, so they took the typical short-cut of doing it in post-production. I’ve heard director’s saying post-conversion 3D is just as effective as filming it in 3D, but I don’t buy that at all. I’ve seen enough of it now to be able to tell the difference between the two. I’m fairly certain there will be an enormous difference between this movie and Resident Evil: Afterlife, which was filmed with James Cameron’s 3D cameras, and were operated by his crew. Post-production 3D is a gimmick used to jack up ticket prices. Cameron’s idea of 3D is actually worth the money. In this case I felt completely ripped off, and would have liked the option of seeing it in 2D, which basically the film is anyway.
Brown Sugar / Namthan Daeng / น้ำตาลแดง: Thai, Drama/ Erotic – 2 hrs 5 mins – This Thai film is Part 1 of 6 short erotic stories of love, greed, wrath, and obsession presented in several genres: thriller, action, drama, romance, and comedy. Already infamous for an extended, unbroken scene of female masturbation that lasts ten minutes. Rated 18+ in Thailand; in Thai only at Vista, no English subtitles.
The Expendables: US, Action/ Adventure/ Thriller – 1 hr 43 mins – Directed by Sylvester Stallone. A team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator. Rated R in the US for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language; 18+ in Thailand. Mixed or average reviews: 45/52 out of 100. Thai-dubbed at Vista.
Rotten Tomatoes: Consensus: It makes good on the old-school action it promises, but given all the talent on display, The Expendables should hit harder.
USA Today, Claudia Puig: This is truly a movie that nobody needs -- gratuitously savage, implausible, and sometimes incoherent.
The Onion A.V. Club, Nathan Rabin: Delivers pretty much exactly what its audience wants and expects: big, dumb, campy fun so deliriously, comically macho, it's remarkable that no one in the cast died of testosterone poisoning.
USA Today, Claudia Puig: Sadistic mess of a movie.
Hello Stranger / Kuan Muen Ho / กวน มึน โฮ: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – 2 hrs 15 mins – Riding the local wave of fascination in all things Korean (but especially the teen and tiny boy-band, pop-star craze), another director tries his hand at a rom-com about Thais in that mesmerizing country that seems to breed only cute muppets. In Thai only at Vista, with English subtitles at Airport Plaza. The number one film in Thailand currently.
First Love / Little Thing Called Love / Sing Lek Lek / สิ่งเล็กๆ: Thai, Comedy/ Romance – 2 hrs – A young and ordinary high school girl has a big crush on a heartthrob senior at school, played by for-real heartthrob Mario Maurer. To make him see that she exists in his world, the girl tries to improve her physical looks and tries to become the star at school, without getting the results she wants. In Thai only at Vista, English subtitles at Airport Plaza.
Scheduled for September 9
Resident Evil: Afterlife: UK/ Germany/ US, Action/ Horror/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller – The series continues. This time, in a world ravaged by a virus infection turning its victims into the Undead, Alice (Milla Jovovich), continues on her journey to find survivors and lead them to safety. Her deadly battle with the Umbrella Corporation reaches new heights, but Alice gets some unexpected help from an old friend. A new lead that promises a safe haven from the Undead takes them to Los Angeles, but when they arrive the city is overrun by thousands of Undead - and Alice and her comrades are about to step into a deadly trap. Rated R in the US for sequences of strong violence and language.
And looking forward
Sep 23: Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps: US, Drama – 2 hrs 7 mins – Oliver Stone directs Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Frank Langella, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Susan Sarandon, Eli Wallach, Charlie Sheen, and Vanessa Ferlito in this scathing follow-up to the acclaimed 1987 film – 23 years later. Here the disgraced Wall Street corporate raider imprisoned in the first movie is released, and as the global economy teeters on the brink of disaster he partners with a young Wall Street trader on a two-part mission: To alert the financial community to the coming doom, and to find out who was responsible for the death of the young trader's mentor. Early reviews: Generally favorable: 72 out of 100.
* = Coming soon
AF = Alliance Française; FS = Film Space
At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
The Alliance Française shows its series of French films in a small room in their building at 138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel. Tell your taxi "Samakhom Frangset" and/or "Wat Chaimongkhon." A contribution of 30 baht is requested; you pay outside at the information desk of the Alliance Française proper.
On Friday, September 3, 8 pm: Un homme et une femme / A Man and a Woman (1966) by Claude Lelouch – 2 hrs 5 mins – France, Drama/ Romance. In French with English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 63 out of 100.
With Jean-Louis Trintignant, Anouk Aimée, Pierre Barouh, Valérie Lagrange, Simone Paris, Paul Le Person, Henri Chemin.
Jean-Louis Duroc and Anne Gauthier meet incidentally at the boarding school where they visit their children each weekend. He visits his son, she her daughter. She misses her train and he offers her a ride back to Paris in his car. Slowly and cautiously we learn about them as they learn about one another. We learn about their jobs, their former spouses, and other details of their lives that have the movie viewer hoping this man and woman can become a couple.
– Alliance description
The story of Un homme et une femme is an endlessly fascinating one, made all the more interesting by Claude Lelouch's narrative choices. At numerous points, he eschews dialogue in favor of flashbacks, montages, music, and race commentary. This accomplishes several goals (in addition to making the film more financially feasible). It allows the audience to more easily project themselves into the characters, as an image of two people talking with music replacing the dialogue draws us into the interaction between the characters, rather than distracting us by what they're saying. We naturally assume that what they're saying to each other is similar to what we would say in that situation. As a result, we become more invested in the relationship. It also gives the film the feel of a fairy tale romance, thanks in large part to the enchanting score of Francis Lai and Baden Powell. Take, for example, the scene at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club where Jean-Louis receives the telegraph. Lelouch puts a camera on a balcony and films it in an uninterrupted long shot as Jean-Louis reads the message, excuses himself from the table, and leaves the ballroom. We hear none of this, but it's clear enough that's what he's doing. Most directors would have either cut to closer shots and given us the dialogue or eliminated the scene altogether, but neither choice would have been as effective. It's a vital part of Jean-Louis' character arc that he leave immediately, and the uninterrupted shots convey that perfectly, but it's also unnecessary that we hear what he says. In fact, it's better that we don't. Lelouch's choice is a perfect balance.
And then there’s the strange case of the different film stocks used in Un homme et une femme – the mixture of scenes shot in color with those shot in black and white. Much has been written about what Lelouch meant to convey with this device, whether the black and white serves as quotation marks or the color is meant to be a somewhat different version of reality (does one represent the present and the other the past? Is one or the other tied to a particular character's point of view?). Don't tie yourself in knots trying to figure it out. The answer is almost disappointingly simple, because his reasons were strictly mercenary: he'd intended to shoot the entire thing in black and white because it was significantly less expensive to do so, and the budget for Un homme et une femme was not large enough to film the entire thing in color. But then but the potentially lucrative American television market required color and an investor was willing to supply more money to the project if the film could play the American market. So, Lelouch struck a compromise and filmed his interiors in black and white, as planned, and used color for the exteriors. That's all there is to it. The compromise is a practical one that people have been reading into since the film was released, and may even have been a factor in Lelouch's Best Director nomination. The different film stocks themselves mean nothing, but once you get into the rhythm of the film's shifting back and forth, it becomes a comfortable and even engaging conceit. It'll surprise no one to hear that the mixture has influenced many a filmmaker since, but had the project been able to raise more funds, it wouldn't have even existed.
On Friday, September 10, 8 pm: Trois Couleurs: Bleu / Three Colors: Blue (1993) by Krzysztof Kieslowski – 100 mins – France, Drama. English subtitles. With this film, the Alliance begins a repeat showing of the great Three Colors Trilogy of Kieslowski, some of my favorite of all films. The three films will be shown on successive Friday nights. For my money, this is a major film event for Chiang Mai. Reviews: Universal acclaim: 84 out of 100.
With Juliette Binoche, Benoît Régent, Florence Pernel, Charlotte Véry, Hélène Vincent, Philippe Volter, Claude Duneton, Hugues Quester, Emmanuelle Riva.
“Three Colors: Blue is the first part of Kieslowski's trilogy on France's national motto: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Blue is the story of Julie who loses her husband, an acclaimed European composer, and her young daughter in a car accident. The film's theme of liberty is manifested in Julie's attempt to start a new life free of personal commitments, belongings, grief, and love. She intends to spiritu
ally commit suicide by withdrawing from the world and live completely independently, anonymously and in solitude in the Parisian metropolis. Despite her intentions, people from her former and present life intrude with their own needs. However...”
– Alliance Française description
In Blue, you will be struck by the powerful performance of Juliette Binoche in what is basically a solo performance. It has been said that her face shows clearly what she is thinking all the time. Well, not all the time for me. Most of the time, yes, but at a couple of key points I was suddenly at a complete loss as to what was going on in her mind, and it was a puzzle that I needed to figure out.
Kieslowski obviously wants to key these three films and their themes in some way to the French flag and the French motto of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity: blue, white, and red are continually referred to in the film, as well as in the titles. At one point in the first film, we see the protagonist Julie carrying a box which, as a close-up shows, has prominently written across it the word "blanco", Spanish for white; in the next shot we are looking at her from behind, and she pauses in the street as a man in blue passes her on her left and a woman in red passes her on her right. This is a not-so-subtle reference to the structure of the Three Colors trilogy - blue, white, red, in that order, mirroring the French flag.
And then again, During one swimming scene in the blue pool, children in red and white bathing suits run out and jump in the water -- another reference to the trilogy (blue, white, and red).
And in this first film, Blue, there is blue all over the place; in addition to blue filters and blue lighting, any number of prominent objects are blue - a foil balloon, a tinted window, awnings, a folder, the walls of a room, coats, skirts, scarves, blouses, jeans, shirts, trash bags, crystals, a lollypop and its wrapper, binders, graffiti, a pool, a van, and a pen.
Blue, supposedly standing for Liberty. Does this help? Well, for sure, it can get you thinking, trying to make connections. You could say that this woman is on a campaign to be completely independent (at liberty, I suppose) with nothing to tie her down, and no alliances which might become entangling. She says at one point, “Now I have only one thing left to do: nothing. I don't want any belongings, any memories. No friends, no love. Those are all traps.”
Is this a cautionary tale? Liberty being taken to a ridiculous extreme? What precisely is the film trying to say? If one takes this as being an example of “liberty” then what about its unity with another part of the flag, the red, “fraternity” (or “brotherhood”)? This woman is about as opposite to “fraternal” as you can get! In fact, she’s basically an extremely unsympathetic and unpalatable character, cold, and selfish.
So the blue, white, and red of the French flag, and Liberté, égalité, fraternité, may seem like a help, our window to a grand scheme, but is it really? I rather think it only seems to be a help, on first glance, but really isn’t. If it’s purpose is just to get you to think about it, it certainly succeeds. Maybe something along the line of, “You can’t have all three!” Not at the same time.
Juliette Binoche, in what amounts to a one-woman show, turns in a mesmerizing and accomplished performance. She manages to bring an element of humanity and sympathy to a basically unsympathetic character – there is little in Julie, as written, for the audience to latch onto, but Ms. Binoche provides an emotional link to the story.
Blue is a powerful motion picture - both in terms of its dramatic impact and in its method of presentation, and it is an adventure to be prized highly.
At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
September is “The Month of Sleepwalker” at Film Space.
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave at least 20 baht. Well worth supporting. All films not in English are shown with English subtitles.
At Film Space Saturday, September 4, 7 pm: Cashback / Frozen Time (2006) directed by Sean Ellis – 1 hrs 42 mins – UK, Comedy/ Drama/ Romance – In English. After a painful breakup, Ben develops insomnia. To kill time, he starts working the late night shift at the local supermarket, where his artistic imagination runs wild. Rated R in the US for graphic nudity, sexual content, and language. Mixed or average reviews: 54/54 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes consensus: An unlikable protagonist, messy editing, and gratuitous nudity might make audiences ask for their cash back.
Variety, Justin Chang: Slickly charming, genteelly erotic, and directed with supreme polish, Cashback is a conventional romantic comedy that plays unconventional games with time and memory.
Reel Views, James Berardinelli: For his feature debut, Sean Ellis has crafted a delightful romantic comedy that provides insight into the heart of a painter and the minds of those trapped working the graveyard shift at a 24-hour supermarket. Along the way, women get naked, couples fall in love, and teams lose pickup soccer games 26-to-nothing. Cashback isn't daring or ambitious but, despite its uneven tone and occasional tendencies to meander, it is endearing.
In 2004, Ellis made an Oscar-nominated short called "Cashback" about the lives of grocery store workers. The film gained some degree of notoriety because of its "extreme" nudity - full-frontal shots of women posed in grocery store aisles while frozen in time. Two years later, Ellis elected to take the premise of "Cashback" and develop it into a feature-length endeavor. He brought back the entire cast to film another 80 minutes. The finished product includes not only the new material but almost the entire short. In fact, nearly all of Cashback's nudity is from the 2004 version.
Ben Willis has just undergone a traumatic breakup with his girlfriend. The emotional trauma has given him insomnia so, to pass the night hours, he decides to work at a grocery store. There, on the night shift, he is accompanied by pranksters Barry and Matt, manager Jenkins, and pretty checkout clerk Sharon. While his body goes about mundane tasks, Ben's mind wanders free, freezing time so he can undress and pose female shoppers in order to paint their portraits. The act is artistic, not prurient (and is presented as such - there's nothing erotic about these scenes; they are ethereal), and Ben's fascination for the female form is explained via flashbacks. Eventually, he learns that the path to emotional healing and a good night's sleep may lie in connecting with Sharon, but things are never easy in a romantic comedy…
The key to Cashback's likeability is its characters. They're the kinds of people we appreciate spending time with. Ben's voiceover narrative is smart and sharp and doesn't merely regurgitate things we can figure out by looking at the images. Sharon is believable as the kind of woman one might find working in a grocery store late at night. She starts out average-looking (not the kind of person to turn heads), then gradually becomes more attractive as the film progresses. We are seeing her through Ben's eyes. Ellis imbues Cashback with a whimsical tone, and there's a hint of magical realism. The scenes when time stops are beautifully staged.
The film's structure is a little awkward, almost certainly as a result of its being expanded from 20 minutes to 97. Some of the additional material is welcome since it fleshes out the characters and their relationships. What happens at the end is a nice touch. Other things, such as the soccer game, are filler. On the whole, however, it's more than worth it to endure the few slow patches to get to the more plentiful good bits. Cashback is light, smart, and enjoyable.
At Film Space Saturday, September 11, 7 pm: Dream / Bi-mong / 비몽 (2008) written and directed by Ki-duk Kim – 1 hr 35 mins – Korea, Drama/ Fantasy/ Mystery/ Romance – In Korean and Japanese with English subtitles. Jin awakes from a dream where he causes a traffic accident to find that the accident actually took place. The police suspect a woman, Ran, though she denies any involvement as she was asleep the whole time. It transpires that while Jin dreams, Ran acts out those dreams in her sleep.
Culture Views, Vomitron: One night, the introvert artist Jin causes a hit-and-run accident, only to wake up and discover it was just a nightmare. As if he felt it was some strange omen, he decides to jump in his car and drive to the crossroad where the accident occurred in his dream. There he sees it actually did happen. The police has already arrived at the scene of the crime. Convinced he is responsible for the accident, he’s shocked to learn the police already have a culprit, a young woman named Ran. Her car was spotted on a surveillance camera. During questioning however, Ran claims she was at home asleep, that night when the accident happened.
During those first 15 minutes of the movie, a solid mystery is presented. A logical expectation of any viewer might be for it to get more complicated, offering occasional thrills and twists. But basically, it doesn’t. There are a few puzzling surprises, but the mystery itself never fully develops and only a vague, possible explanation is given pretty early on in the movie. Instead, Dream turns into a much more personal, psychological film that toys with logic, at times even dislocating its own time/space framework. All this certainly doesn’t mean Dream results in a worse film than it should have been. On the contrary, it displays originality & authenticity. You just have to be prepared to follow the path Ki-Duk will take you on. And that is one of a descent into personal madness for the protagonist couple Jin and Ran. Mystery and fantasy are merely subtle undertones present throughout the film.