At the Chewsock Film Festival, apart from six films I have advised here, take a special look at The Weight 무게, that you can see today. It is one of the most peculiar and daring film of last year. It revolves on a hunchback guy who has a gloomy work (taking care of the dead in a morgue), a rather deranged mind, and will find a love tha fits him , a weird one. Not a funny film for sure, but a human, careful, as well as poetic look on an outcast. Visuals are often somptuous, the morgue ends in being a peaceful and artistic place.
Yet the film is made, like all films from this director, Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환), with a tiny budget. Such odd projects are difficult to finance everywhere in the world, but especially in Korea. Jeon Kyun-hwan has been used to make out the best of the smallest budgets. He started with three self produced feature films (he once said to me that he gathered one of these budgets by selling his own car), Mozart Town, Animal Town, Dance Town. They all focus, such as The Weight on characters you’ve have rarely seen, and difficult subject. Mozart Town deals partly with black immigrant workers in a factory, which was a very rare subject in Korean movies at that time, 2008. Animal Town deals with pedophilia and Dance Town with two North Koreans living in the south, the female character being a kind of funny one : she has watched a porn movie and got into trouble with the North Korean Government for that.
Odd characters seen without prejudice
Thanks to the recognition in some major film festivals, Jeon Kyu-hwan got more funding for a more ambitious project, From Seoul to Varenasi, a film which takes place partly in India (Varenasi) and deals with terrorism. But moreover, it portrays a love relationship between a korean woman and an Indian muslim (who ends in being dragged to terrorism coming from Pakistan). Due to the difficulty of financing and handling such issues, Jeon Kyu-hwan’s films may have some flaws here and there. But he always deals with strong and interesting subjects, and never judges who is bad and good : his portraits of immigrants, company boss, deranged criminal, North Koreans, muslims or, in The Weight, hunchback working in a morgue, are always balanced, making the viewer think about his prejudices and stereotypes.
Being also one the very rare korean director interested in foreigners living in Seoul, Jeon Kyu-hwan has introduced some amateurs like Nigel D’sa and Darcy Paquet to the big screen. We can also notice that he has revealed the actor Oh Seong-tae 오성태, who has a main part in all his movies and is now getting biger parts, such as in Act 짓 which opens next week in theaters. The new work from Jeon Kyu-hwan, My Boy, will be screened at Pusan Film Festival early october, and we can guess it will not be a mainstream romance : it’s about a mother and his mentally diseased boy.