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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.06.10] movie review news experimental south korea

Year: 2010
Director: Lee Samchil
Writer: Lee Samchil
Trailer: NA
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 4 out of 10

94 minutes. That’s the running time of Lee Samchil’s Metamorphosis. Those are the most difficult 94 minutes I’ve ever had to endure watching a film. I was determined to see the entire thing. It’s too bad the payoff wasn’t better.

Samchil’s experimental film opens with the view of a window. A man wakes to find that he can’t move his left foot. Whatever affliction has stricken him has also left him unable to speak. Then the internal monologue begins. We learn that this man is living in his parents’ (now dead) home and that his sister is suing him for possession. He was a bad son, an outcast of society because at 35 he was unemployed and lived at home. He wonders if this is some sort of twisted payback for his sins?

As the film continues and the days pass, the man’s condition deteriorates. One immobile leg turns into both, then his arms and eventually his entire body. We see him struggling to turn his body, struggling to open a door and move into the bathroom. All of this, from his perspective. This gimmick is also the film’s strongest point but one that doesn’t add enough to make the running time worthwhile.

Carried through most of the film (with the exception of 3 short scenes), the first person point of view leaves the audience disoriented. The film’s protagonist doesn’t know what is happening to him and neither does the audience. His limited view of his surroundings and the odd angles quickly build a sense of disorientation and entrapment making the film uncomfortable to watch but by the twenty minute mark, I was over the initial shock and wanted something different, something that would give me pause or move the story but instead all we see is more of the bare room and the endless internal monologue which ranges from interesting to hysterical to pointless, occasionally stepping into the needlessly philosophical.

Just as it’s running out of steam, a new character is introduced. Sadly, she quickly gets old and we’re returned to the suffering mute. Perhaps I was supposed to be thinking about why the protagonist was immobile and perhaps pondering the some metaphysical idea of being but all I could think about was how and, most importantly, when it would end.

An interesting concept, Metamorphosis would have made for an interesting short film but as a full length feature, it’s a sleep inducing bore.

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John (12 years ago) Reply

Concept, try "Johnny got his Gun", to see where this <i>conecpt</i> comes from.

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