« The Messengers | Main | Alone »

March 26, 2007

Bewitching Attraction

bewitching attraction.jpg

Yeogyosu-Eui Eunmilhan Maeryeok
Lee Ha-jung - 2006
J-Bics Region 3 DVD

Out of the eight films made with Moon So-ri, I have now seen four. If talk about the best contemporary screen actresses wasn't pretty much limited to those who speak English, Moon would be considered as good, if not better than a number of her Anglo-American peers. Her performance as a woman with cerebral palsy in Oasis is the kind of stuff Academy Awards are made of. Following that film was Moon's acclaimed role as The Good Lawyer's Wife, a married woman having an affair with a teenage boy.

Moon's character in Bewitching Attraction is almost a blend of those two films. Moon portrays Eun, the lone female teacher in a design school, with five male faculty members competing for her favor. Eun is first seen standing still, looking out at the ocean while a priest and a large group of nuns are seen staring at Eun. When Eun begins to walk, it is clear she has a limp, something one of the male characters mentions that he finds arousing. If for no other reason, Betwitching Attraction should be seen simply for the wonder of watching Moon So-ri play a beautiful woman with a limp, roaring drunk, wearing stiletto high heels.

There is a Gallic quality to Lee's debut film. That may be simply due to the music, often a duet of guitar and accordian. The film is observational, with the camera at a distance allowing the viewer to watch the characters interact with each other. There are echoes of Truffaut in the narrative, most obviously with Jules and Jim with men fighting each other for a woman who could well live without any of them. There is also a scene that recalls a visual joke from Shoot the Piano Player. One of the men swears on the life of his mother that he is telling the truth. The mother suddenly dies. Lee's film is much darker in its humor than anything Truffaut made, while the sex is more explicit. Additionally, Eun is reunited by chance with someone from her youth, with the two sharing a secret that makes their relationship more volatile. Again, this recalls several of Truffaut's films, usually with former lovers forced together by circumstance.

While the men act foolishly in the name of love, Eun is looking for ways to advance herself beyond her teaching career. Everyone does the wrong thing for the wrong reason, in a variety of acts of self-destruction. In the end of Bewitching Attraction, Eun compares herself to a red flower. Unlike flowers, Eun is more resilient than fragile. But like some flowers, Eun is best appreciated observed from a safe distance.

Posted by peter at March 26, 2007 08:48 AM

Comments

If talk about the best contemporary screen actresses wasn't pretty much limited to those who speak English, Moon would be considered as good, if not better than a number of her Anglo-American peers.

How true that is. Her performance in A Good Lawyer's Wife, a film I've seen probably a dozen times now, is soul stirring.

I've not yet seen Bewitching Attraction, but I'm quite eager to.

Posted by: Filmbrain at March 26, 2007 11:50 AM