Finally! I had been hoping to see this along with a Q&A at the Korean Film Festival earlier this year, but it never materialised much to my disappointment. Kim KiDuk, despite a rather mysogenistic approach on occasion to his female characters on film, is one of the Korean directors whose work I really enjoy. Ever since ‘Bin-Dip’ had a Uk release, I have begun to follow his work and whist I still have a number to see (and buy) I always look forward to a new release.
Arirang promised to be an interesting work from the start, its production occuring after a hiatus of 3 years and a near fatal accident on set of his last film Dream that prompted a personal crisis and an epiphany. This documentary has him looking back over his career and philosophising over life death and the film industry or, as those who dislike the work – a drunk man in a tent in a cabin in the mountains.
Its easy to see why the latter description would fit as that truely was his location. Shot and starring only himself, it was definitely an unusual piece of work to say the least, but one I really did enjoy for its humour, ideas and what I can see as a new approach.
“That’s what films are. A truth.” He states, but what truth is he showing us in this film I wonder? Often breaking the fourth wall to just look at the audience we see him at a daily routine, making coffee, answering a myserious knock on the door, feeding a cat, making an espresso machine and getting drunk and editing his work, singing and talking about feelings of film and growing up on a more personal level. Is it an honest self portrait or is he a little toungue in cheek. He certainly mixes in the profound with the ridiculous and a lot of what he says is very quotable.
Terracotta Distribution has the luck to be prducing the DVD of this film, so I will have more time to mull it over and see if I can get better insight into the work . I can see why it divides audiences but I like that about a film. It generates discussion and debate and one that will continue for some time I think.