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Choked (Joong-Hyun, 2011) - #Berlinale 2012 #koreablog

A young man is confronted with his mothers worsening debts. Things spiral out of control when she suddenly disappears.

Most notable about the film for me was the insight into the Korean society - the filmmakers seem to suggest that basically everyone in Korea seems to live way over their means. The pressure on the son to get a "good life" in terms of owning an apartment of good size determines the happiness of his fiancee. The characters talk plainly about the subject of money to each other with a frankness that would not be seen in other societies. I wonder if this was a fiction or conversations can be that open in Korea.

Something I've noticed recently in some Asian films with a similar style is a sort of liberation of the genre, I cannot really describe it any better. At any point during this film I expected it to turn funny, bloody, dramatic or simply weird. And to a very slight degree it really turns this or that direction. Maybe it was just me, but that rather diffuse feeling of "loss of genre" put me at a certain distance of the story and I wasn't convinced with what was happening to the main characters.

There is a certain twist at the end of the film that I thought didn't work out too well. Actually, I felt more confused after that revelation - I would have left it out.

The film has this very sharp imagery, something I've noticed quite often in Korean films at festivals lately. Maybe it's got to do with their digital post production facilities that convert to DCP. This style works very well with these type of films giving a sort of documentary hi-def style, but it also has a certain aseptic quality which I feel a bit uncomfortable with.

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