Mimang

Italian Premiere | In Competition | White Mulberry Award Candidate

 

Guest star:
KIM Tae-yang, director 
PARK Bongjun

 

A man and a woman run into each other by chance on the streets. At first, it’s difficult to grasp their relationship, but through sparse hints, both spoken and unspoken, there is a sense that these two hold a history. Without delving into the depths of their past, the film moves on to the next chapter of the triptych where the woman meets a new man.

Initially thought to be the protagonist, the man is absent in the second chapter. The lack of his presence remains as an afterimage, and the woman leads a second stroll with another man. One wonders if she’s the main character, but the film plays around with this concept and keeps its distance from everyone.

Meanwhile, Seoul City takes on an important role too. This historical area of Seoul called Jongno houses several palaces and the Gwanghwamun Square. As the characters evolve, so do their backgrounds. Captured over four years, the passage of time is reflected in the film, the characters, the relationships and even the artist’s vision as they ripen along with the gentrifying background. As if to grasp onto the present before urban development writes over its identity, the film’s alluring way of portraying Seoul seems to say it’s a love letter to the city more than a love story between people.

The film’s narrative is driven by the conversations between the characters. As it purposely avoids drama, we’re left to rely on the dialogue. But ironically, it’s the other aspects of the film that give us more information – the subtle but intricate performances, the moving and constantly changing background, and the music. Further veiling our means of getting the full picture, literally and figuratively, is the use of the telephoto lens, unapologetically cutting away the characters’ surroundings to leave us with the bare minimum.

Piecing together the puzzles is an interactive process, and the ways the film could be interpreted are endless. Through his unique style, first-time filmmaker Kim Tae-yang poses a new kind of romance film far removed from what the locals are accustomed to.

There is no sweet talking, no provocative or sexual scenes, no revenge, and no affairs.
But, it somehow draws out longing and bitterness, familiarly associated with feelings of breakups.

Further creating layers reminiscing the different layers of Seoul is the way the chapters are divided. Dissecting the definition of each of the three different meanings of the word mimang, the film questions perspectives and possibilities in a literary way. The Widow (Mimang-in in Korean), playing as a part of this year’s festival, makes a special appearance in one of the chapters to offer yet another definition of mimang. Perhaps this freedom to elaborate is the reason behind the film’s ongoing international success.

Since its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film has been travelling to countless festivals covering regions such as Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, and North America.

June Kim
Film director: KIM Tae-yang
Year: 2023
Running time: 92'
Country: South Korea
28/04 - 2:30 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
28-04-2024 14:30 28-04-2024 16:02Europe/Rome Mimang Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine cec@cecudine.org

Photogallery