Dir. Yoon Seongho. South Korea. 2007. 100min.
An avalanche of wild ideas, absurd gags, ironic comments and film parodies assaults the viewer in Yoon Seongho's anarchic debut film, Milky Way Liberation Front. Coming across as a Day For Night gone awry and shot at breakneck speed, the film follows a young director as he prepares his first feature film and, in the process, loses his mind. Breathless and chaotic but often entertaining, this comedy marks Yoon out as a director to watch but is bogged down by too much dialogue and too little self-control. While local audiences may respond, this makes following it a mammoth challenge for non-Korean speakers. But with some more concise subtitling,
Bespectacled Young-jae (Lim) is a self-styled intellectual who wants to make movies. His latest project is about an aphasic hero who lives twice as long as normal people who have to sleep at night. He is bombarded with advice from people who want to be involved - from a Japanese star who looks like an android to a ventriloquist actor who suggests one of the roles be rewritten to accommodate his skills via a sound woman so obsessed by her work that she would make love to a man just to hear the sounds coming out of her partner's lips and Mongolian investors - but their suggestions are absurd and inappropriate. To add to his woes, suddenly his voice is replaced by music every time he opens his mouth unless, that is, he talks into a microphone.
This is a barely veiled self-portrait of the director and Yoon makes some nice asides on the how film business works - for example, a poorly attended press conference is a masterclass in the art of not answering questions - and isn't afraid of owning up to his own limitations ending the film with Young-jae reaching the conclusion that fewer words make a better film.
Shot attractively in HD, Gwon Sang-jun's images provide soft colours and sophisticated lighting and the acting from a young cast is appropriately lunatic, with smooth-faced Lim at the centre looking surprised that not everything turns just the way he thought. But the film simply suffers from a surfeit of everything. From digital conversations to handheld camera gymnastics, nothing is missing here except some discipline and a pair of sharp scissors.
Milky Way Liberation Front Committee (South Korea)
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