A world of tranquillised modernity


As North Korea’s film studios are converted into bomb shelters in preparation for the Republican Party's next colonial outing, South Korean cinema going through something of a golden age. It all started in 1999 when Kang Jae-Gyu's Shiri, a blockbuster blend of espionage and romance, eclipsed the domestic box office figures set previously by Titanic. Seoul suddenly started haemorrhaging films of disturbing brilliance: Jang Sun- Woo’s Lies, Lee Myung-Se's Nowhere to Hide, Kim Ki-Duk's The Isle. But it was Park Chan-Wook’s remarkable, absurd border thriller, Joint Security Area, in 2000 that broke all records and became the highest grossing film in South Korean history.

Chan-Wook may have excelled even by his own weird standards with Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, a pseudo-conspiracy movie that seems to strike at the very heart of the contradictions that afflict this most globalised of capitalist states, a world, in the words of Heidegger, of ‘tranquillised modernity’.

When a deaf mute is laid off work, he struggles to find the money for his dying sister's kidney transplant. After some bad experiences in the medical black-market, the siblings decide to resort to the kidnap of a child to raise funds for the operation, but things do not run smoothly. Lee Jae-Sun and Lee Mu-Yeong’s beautifully structured script is the key to this complex, filthy, ultra-violent vision of love, loss and revenge. Chan-Wook shifts and twists the action till you don’t really have a clue what is going on - but you can't tear yourself away. It is indeed rare to come across a thriller that deals with topics as diverse as organ transplants, unemployment and class struggle. (Paul Dale)

I UGC, Glasgow 8 Edinburgh from Frr 30 Ma};

DRAMA SON OF THE BRIDE (18) 1 21 min .00

Buenos Arres. 2002. The economy rs kaput. Workaholrc Rafael Belvedere (Ricardo Darrn, last seen over here rn the excellent Nrne Queens) ls tryrng to keep the wolves from the door of the famrly restaurant. 42-year-old Rafael finds It hard to communlcate Wrth anyone around hrm, not least hrs mother who rs sufferrng from Alzheimer's. When hrs father deodes he wants to re-marry her rn a church. an old frrend. Juan Carlos, appears out of the blue and Rafael begrns to feel hrs lrfe rs sprnnrng out of control.

Argentrnean filmmaker Juan Jose Campanella has spent almost a decade drrectrng televrSron programmes around the world. whrch may explarn hrs slrghtly manrpulatrye hold over the material here. We are rn male menopausal terrlIOry: Rafael wants to run away and start agarn. but first he has to come to terms wrth who he rs. It's all a Dr! of a blubfest. and the smug pop phrlosophy at thrs frlm‘s heart can get a lrttle cloyrng.

View from a nervous breakdown

Car‘oanelia wows the ace card of thrs sweet lrtt'e rr‘ct re res rn the skrll of hrs performers. Hector Alterro and Norr‘ta Alear‘or'c are superb as chardo's parents. but rt rs Eduardo Blanco as the .'.l(’lO\‘.’ed. DOnkers. unemplota'ole actor Carlos who steals the fllrt‘ hers ren‘rnrscent of ltalran master can". Roberta Benrgnr at hrs most CC"‘KZOE§I".Q, Paul Daler I Selected "e'ease from Frr 23 May.

28 THE LIST 22 Mat—5 June 2033


HARMONIES (12A) 145mm 00m

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(:oméélw THE HOT CHICK (12A) 101min O

A temtage grr; the school hrtch. becomes trapped rr‘ a 30-1.ea"-<: fl man‘s trod; an: sutzseduerttr, spends the remasnder of the trln‘ tr‘yrng to get rt hack. Rot) Schnerder's per‘or'rrrance as the "teenage grrr“ rs more effemrnate than femurrr‘e.

There s a loose theme of roentrt‘, rnyolyrng ftrtrle moments of serf- reallsatron. hut tlltl't‘ate:t t'tls S.’l;li|()‘.'.' *rln‘ .8 far of stereofl.l;r:;a. vnrnrmal orot used as an ex<:.rse ‘c' crtrzre. 'nost“, '.(>"(1"t»'(:'£lf(3(l

Featurrng a cameo role from Adarn Sandler' as a (lOlXXlxllt txrn’; ; am. f"..- frlrn's only sat’rng grace Is that t manages to keel: tire sa't‘é: 3km. n r the length of the frrm. Exen rf the, are bad. rKathy Donne I General release from Frr 23 May:

The bitch wants her body back

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Queen Latrta'n: black rCCn. lyrrcal fe'nrnlst aCtIVlst and that raw,- {,"‘:f:’l tr who can act.

Gallrng then. that here she's obyrously (:Ountrr‘g t re BOlllt’l'l‘fif} T";:°.". :n you. whrte heyl and deerded to pray the house nrgger: Worse strrl, BI ' .; . the House dares to poke fun at raCrar stereotyprng. but (:orr‘~.rerrrentl, "z" ‘< confront rt.

Latrfah plays a CONVICI. Charlene Morton; Steve Martrn rs art a??’:"“:, '; SanderSOn (yep the man made famous for pretendrng to he claw~ " r" Jew She dupes hrm rnto takrng On her case for false rmp'rser‘ment o, hrm on an Internet datlng sen/Ice. She moves rntc hrs house min the "e. tam: clash of her ghetto 'olrng Wrth hrs mrddle-ciass ‘olong. She f.l"ks trp tr‘r; (Slllhr'b'r. he learns to take the bug out of hrs 8'88.

For those Wrillng to rgnore the stereotyprcal undercurrent. Eugene Lew, :s hrlarrous as an attorney who falls for Charlene's raw attrtude. and at least there IS a kung fu seouencethat sends up The Matrix. But that‘s II on dear. rKaeem Aftabr I General release from Fr« 30 r‘vlar'

Martin and the Queen don’t bring down the house