- Category: Anecdotes
- Published on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 03:04
- Written by Sabrina
A group of people have been sitting silently and uncomfortably on a couch for what might be five minutes, but feels like an hour. They're each holding a glass of tomato juice with a piece of celery* on the edge, barely sipping and trying not to look at one another. The celery falls into one woman's glass. She says, “Mine fell in.”
The man sitting next to her looks up and says, “Mine, too.”
It's just too much. Looking at Alex next to me, I start giggling and can't stop. This is the moment when I wonder why the hell I ever agreed to get up at five in the morning to go to a film festival on the other side of the country.
* * *
We leave Incheon as soon as the subway opens, then take the KTX from Seoul. Getting immediately onto the subway in Busan, we head to the ticket master.
Except, not immediately because all seven of us assume it's at Haeundae Beach and that turns out not to be true. One of the hazards of speaking limited Korean in Korea is that directions get messed up sometimes.
We buy t-shirts and see sand sculptures of supposedly famous people before we're even sure we'll get to see a film.
When we make it to the right location, we stand around a board listing films with tickets still available, and try to find something that will accommodate seven very different tastes.
This is irrelevant anyway, because by the time we stand in line and are ready to pay, the film we've chosen is sold out. Alex makes a quick decision on the two films we'll be seeing today: Archipelago and Here Comes the Bride.
Archipelago is a word I have never been able to say properly and it's a film I can't bring myself to like.
The premise seems to be that a boring family that can't communicate decide to rent a house on an island (part of an archipelago, you might even say, if you can say this word) and make us watch them fail to communicate in cramped rooms with poor lighting. Also, there are extended shots of the wind blowing trees at night. There's a lot of symbolism that I both understand and could not care less about.
By the time the final and most exciting scene occurs – a helicopter arrives to take these miserable people home – most of us have fallen asleep for parts of the film and Mike's already given up on gritting his teeth in frustration and left. We get up in a daze and quietly leave the theatre.
None of us is a romantic comedy fan and we're no longer excited about being at the Pusan International Film Festival. Heading to the open-air showing of Here Comes the Bride, we agree that if it's even half as tedious as the film we just watched, we're leaving to drink beer at Family Mart.
Approaching the venue, there's a pretty, but generic night view of the city just past the vendors. Yelling children run around, electric lights give a carnival feel and the smell of street meat is reminding me that I'm starving. The crowd's hum is optimistic, but we keep our expectations low.
Here Comes the Bride is ridiculous. A simultaneous eclipse and car collision cause several wedding guests to switch bodies with ensuing hilarity. The ending – without ruining it for you – is equally incredible. But it's funny, it's relate-able and every single scene moves the plot forward instead of ruminating about a grand theme the writer believes is more important than silly things like narrative.
It's possible that if I hadn't hated Archipelago, I would have hated Here Comes the Bride. But it's also possible that predictable cheese told in a compelling way is still better than artsy scenes shot to explore a theme instead of telling a story.
*Or a lemon, as Alex Gould remembers, but why would you put lemon with tomato juice? That doesn't sound right to me at all.
Was Archipelago your favourite film ever? What did you like about it? Because, seriously, if anyone can give it some redeeming qualities for me, I'd appreciate it.
Been to any film festivals in Korea? Elsewhere? Did you enjoy them overall? Memorably bad experiences (those are always the best ones)?
Previously published on MouseCrackers.com