-and many others
What It's Good For:
-Some astounding technical work: camera movements, long takes, the acting
-Making you feel like shit
-Because it makes you feel like shit, it really succeeds in conveying the pain of the Jeju Massacre or "Jeju 4.3"
-People who really love movies that make them think and emote
-Making people aware of Jeju
-Black & white
-Some slow, slow, slow portions
-The betrayal is so cliche, I saw it coming from 15 minutes into the film (though I decided, about halfway through that the movie was smarter than to use the "someone who is foolish betrays the group" cliche...but then it did)
-Too artistic for some people
-Too vague for some people
-Felt longer than it was?
-I still have no concept of what point in time the opening scene takes place in (though I don't think it really matters?)
-One of the good guys and one of the bad guys dress/look exactly the same?? (this could be on purpose?)
Because there are some really slow portions, I thought "This better have a really cool end." It does. At least I think it does. Like...the movie suddenly gets very surreal. It's a gorgeous film. Any person who appreciates artistic epics (I feel weird calling a 108 minute movie epic, but it felt epic?) will get a kick out of this.
If I taught a filmmaking or film class, I would 100% use Jiseul. I don't think it's a must for people who just like movies. But for people who want to make movies or who appreciate movies as art: definitely.
As I was watching, I was impressed but sort of bored? When it ended, I thought "it was okay". 12 hours later: I'm head over heels for Jiseul. Images keep coming back to me. The end keeps playing over and over again. Though I hate the betrayal, even if the betrayal is historically accurate (I don't know if it is or isn't). When it became obvious the betrayal would happen, I got really upset. So so so so so cliche. But how it's done is sort of cool? Like, how pathetic the betrayer is? I just want to keep talking about the movie? I think that's a good sign.
Update 1/26: Jiseul won the World Cinema Grand Jury prize at Sundance. Well deserved. I'm still thinking about it. It's bewitching. Terribly sad. But bewitching.
Will You Get To See It:
No distributor yet. Meul O. said he never even intended for it to be seen by US viewers. I don't know if he'll push for US distribution, then? The chances it plays in a regular movie theater? .5%. The chance it plays in an art house? Still not good. It'll probably hit DVD though?