Sunday, September 13, 2009

[5th Singapore Short Film Festival] Korean – School Days

For those still unaware, the 5th Singapore Short FIlm Festival, is now ongoing at the Substation this week. I wish I could attend every single screening there is, but unfortunately my schedule didn't permit. In any case, do check out the Festival Website to see which programs tickle your fancy, and head on down to check them out!

I only had time today to check out one of the screenings, and it happens to be a selection of Korean shorts with a similar, unifying theme throughout dealing with, erm, high school girls.

A School Rep
Park Sang-joon / 2008 / 17min / South Korea / PG

Amongst the shorts screened today, I had enjoyed this the most, even though it chose to address things in open ended fashion. Wonderful play between the leads, where the teacher-student line got crossed because of mutual attraction, and conflicts of interest come into play. It's always interesting to note that there's a reason for the adage of not eating and shitting in your own backyard, and I guess it's a lesson learnt here. Moral dilemma rears its head as a major theme, as one has to decide whether to pull the brakes and halt a promising student's aspirations, if only just because of the realization that what's pretty on the outside, can be so rotten within.

Everything Jisoo Always Wanted To Know About Sex
Lee Ji-soo / 2007 / 10min / South Korea / NC16 (Sexual Reference)

This is a very simple documentary, where the filmmaker Jisoo goes around interviewing her teachers and peers with questions about sex. For those too shy to look into the camera, you get shots that are trained anywhere but at the face of the interviewee. Those less shy of course will look straight into the camera to make their point, which can range from the misinformed, to the serious, to the downright hilarious. Nothing too fancy here as it got wrapped up with a simplistic analysis.

Hong Sung-hoon / 2008 / 17min / South Korea / RATINGS TBA

Victim of the shaky-cam indie filmmaker syndrome, Girl had an arresting plot if only because it revealed its characters and relationship links in quite measured terms, leaving you guessing for the most parts in the beginning should you not have read its synopsis. Talk about being put on a spot, as you would likely guess the worst of the man who got cornered by a teenage schoolgirl who claims to be pregnant. A little too serious for my liking too, which on one hand highlights the plights of irresponsible, pre-marital teenage sex, while on the other, like A School Rep, left things quite hanging without a clear resolution, probably in parallel to case-by-case situations where it's always very easy to judge and jump into conclusions without first getting a clearly picture.

High School Girls
Park Ji-wan / 2008 / 15min / South Korea / RATINGS TBA

A group of schoolgirls looking forward to an outing where they congregate in a clubhouse and basically hang loose, but first, one had to return back to school to pick up something, while another two tangent off to get drinks. Basically nothing much but a banter between the characters, from things like grades, yet another student-teacher crush, and one which I liked, where a character says it's either you're born pretty, or you've to be rich, echoing the plastic surgery sentiments where beauty can be fixed, at the right price. Plenty of girlie concerns getting thrown around, but the finale, which got presented in quite unexpected terms, rounded this off quite nicely.

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