Revivre (2014)

241) Revivre (2014) [hwa-jang]

“Revivre” is about a middle aged man who is stuck between his dying wife and a younger woman he loves. It is based on a novel written by Kim Hoon which is also the Grand Prize winner of the 28th Top Literature Awards.

8/10 – I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the closing gala of this years London Film Festival, and see the 102nd film from Korean director Im Kwon-taek. If there was ever a film to disprove the myth that all Korea is good for is revenge type thrillers, then I would put this one forward. A truly touching and raw film, addressing very human elements on multiple levels.

The film takes place as acclaimed Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki plays Mr. Cho, the director of a cosmetics company, has to balance his hectic workload with his daily support of his wife during her brain cancer treatment. Between all of this, we are introduced to Mr. Cho’s new extremely attractive marketing deputy, Choo Eun-joo (Kim Qyu-ri) who Mr. Cho becomes increasingly infatuated with.

From here the film plays out in the present, situated between a series of flashbacks and fantasy sequences that were fairly simple to follow but perhaps a bit overused. Some of the scenes felt that they were cut short, the emotion and any building tension dropped for the sake of the next scene. However, these are largely unimportant, as the film has more than enough to keep you interested. The scenes involving Mr. Cho’s wife, played by the excellent Kim Ho-jung were immensely hard to watch, and the emotion conveyed between these two felt so genuine and understated that it was some of the most impressive scenes I have seen in Korean cinema.

Preconceived and assumed notions of the motives and feelings of all characters are challenged throughout, and in that respect the film does not play out in a simple way that you might expect. It’s a unique piece of cinema, showing the challenges we face when growing old, the feeling of love and responsibility within marriage and how these are handled when introduced to other factors like lust and temptation, but how everything can shift when faced with life changing scenarios such as Cancer. All of this was handled in a frank and honest way, and if you have experienced any of those aspects in real life, this already quite personal film will hit hard.

Definitely worth a watch. Although, it’s not even out in Korea yet so when and if it reaches the UK, I have no idea. In the meantime, watch the trailer and you’ll get a flavour of what it’s all about.

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