Fantasia 2017: Rage (Lee Sang-il, 2016)

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DARIA GAMLIEL for Cinetalk.net

Without knowing in advance about the premise or plot, Rage throws at-first disjointed events and characters at the viewer. The connections slowly unfurl with a manhunt revealing three possible identities of a murderer. If however, the viewer goes into this 142-minute drama cum suspense thriller with the notion that it is a horror film, this isn’t the case. Perhaps by design, the mis-typing of Lee Sang-il’s film gives it the advantage of surprising its audience. It is Shunji Iwai-esque in its epic-length and treatment of subject matter. It follows multiple characters – misfits – whose confusion and grief propel their coming-of-age. Scenic Okinawan locations are juxtaposed against the neons of Tokyo, and the viewer is drawn into the relation between characters and environment.

Rarely seen in Japanese film, the gay community is surprisingly well showcased. Rage tackles several still-taboo subjects in this area, such as online hookups, what constitutes a ‘family’, and how to deal with chosen-family burial. The exchanges between characters in this story arc are Continue reading

Fantasia 2017: The House of the Disappeared (South Korea, 2017)

 

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DARIA GAMLIEL for Cinetalk.net

Lim Dae-Woong’s The House of the Disappeared is a remake of The House at the End of Time (2013, Alejandro Hidalgo), which showed at Fantasia in 2014. Lim’s version is as well done as the original, but not treated in an identical manner. The original is a psychological suspense story, and is good at building anticipation in a quiet, creeping manner. It doesn’t have much frill or special effects. Lim’s creation is more of a horror-thriller, and therefore throws in a few expected Hollywood style jump-scares, and certain stylistic ‘staged’ sets (such as very decoratively arranged cobwebs). However, the director claims to be a funny guy, and added a few lighter, silly moments to Continue reading