Monday, 20 July 2015

Watching "Like you know it all"

Charlie went to bed early last night as she had a busy day at work today. I had foolishly drunk a cup of coffee in the afternoon. With no chance, therefore, of getting to sleep before about 2am, I decided to watch a film. I tape a lot of films (obviously by 'tape' I mean 'save digitally' or whatever magic way it is done these days) but usually never get round to watching them. After a year or so, I might get politely asked: "Do you need to keep every single Sang-soo Hong film from this film4 retrospective season?" and I will capitulate and delete them, but save one because I want to be the sort of person who is familiar with independent Korean cinema even though I am not.

But last night was my chance, so I scrolled through the planner to find Like you know it all languishing unviewed at the bottom between The Wind that Shakes the Barley and Tyrannosaur (which I may delete as I have since heard it hasn't got a single dinosaur in it) and kicked back on the sofa with a glass of sparkling water.

The film was alright, I suppose, if you like independent Korean cinema then you might well have liked it. Turns out I'm more the sort of person who likes mainstream Korean cinema like OldBoy and The Chaser. If I wanted to watch long sequences exploring the awkwardness of human interaction punctuated by discussions of the importance of freedom in cinema, I could just go to the pub with my friends.  

An interesting feature was that it had a two-act structure. The three-act structure is so embedded in Western cinema that it was quite liberating to have watched a film that took a different approach. Rather than the Set-up, Confrontation and Resolution that we are all used to and expect. Like you know it all had the same central character, Mr Ku, go through two Set-ups (two different cities, no other overlapping characters) neither of which reached a resolution. Mr Ku goes through no recognisable changes, learns no lessons. He starts as as an alcoholic womanising film director beloved of critics but less appealing to a wider audience and, after a series of awkward encounters with old friends and new colleagues in two locations in South Korea, he remains an alcoholic womanising film director beloved of critics but less appealing to a wider audience.

The film was critically acclaimed.  

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