Review By: C.J. Wheeler (email@example.com)
Jeon Soo-il’s intriguing and cathartic psychological drama PINK (핑크) is dreamy and delightful. This independent Korean film made its debut at the 16th Busan International Film, and comes strongly recommended for those seeking perhaps a different shade of seduction when in comes to contemporary Korean cinema. Far from the hard-hitting genre films that flood Korea’s cinema scene, “Pink” is a fluid and enticing melodrama whose themes and enchantments will filter into your reality long after the screen darkness has come and gone.
The story takes place in doomed rural dwelling filled with sombre flecks of characters that seem sympathetically incomplete and wanting. At the center of its drab and decanted casts of characters we find Soo-jin (Lee Seung-yeon), a fragment young woman who is tormented by memories of her past. She arrives to work at a small local bar run by an older woman Ok-ryeon (Seo Kap-sook), whose own personal hopes for the future are symbolized by the broken pink neon light that hangs, depressingly unlit, outside her humble shop. The two women’s fate seems deeply connected and their personas are visually and thematically intertwined through Jeon’s use of specific visual motifs and chizzled mise-en-scene. They are almost two pieces of the same broken sign.
Dialogue in the film is secondary, even misleading, to images we see on screen. Jeon makes use of a naturalist style, favoring static camera shots as characters float in-and-out of the film’s gaze. Jeon makes use of a naturalist style, favoring static camera shots as characters float in-and-out of the film’s gaze. Jeon has created an array of stunningly thought-provoking compositional tensions that ask the audience to question the relationship of characters not only to each other, but the greater world in which they exist. Long-takes and oneiric qualities of film are as intoxicating as they are mystical. Some viewers may find Jeon’s refusal to cement meaning frustrating, even pretentious, but that is to deny the film its personal allure and inquiry into matters of the immaterial.
Soo-jins drifts through the narrative like a balloon deflating slowly in a drafty mansion. There is an unseen force that is driving her, and viewers interested in what that forces those might be, will be rewarded for exploring Joen’s creative use of symbolism and condensation. Nothing is as it appears, but that is not to say that Jeon has burdened the piece with saturated signs and suggestions. The emotive and expressive content of this film is what comes through the most, and that does not require a psychoanalytical reading in order for those messages and themes of healing and self-discovery to be received. PINK is poetic in its presentation and poignant in its delivery, making this little pink gem a film to be found, remembered, and shared.