A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, October 17, 2005


I wrote about Kim Ki-Duk for my DVD column last month, and I have since had occasion to see another of his films: 2000's Real Fiction. Shot primarily on digital video, the film's title is also its thesis statement. How can once create a sense of reality in an effort of imagination? The main character is an artist who sits in the park drawing portraits while listening in a payphone he has wiretapped. He isn't living his own life, he is sneaking in on other people, and trying to give himself purpose through shaping images of them. Only he isn't very good at drawing. His subjects don't like the replicas he has created of them; they don't feel the portraits resemble their actual faces. He is bullied by his clients, as well as a trio of thugs who extort money from people working in the park. As all this plays out, a young woman has circles him, filming him with a video camera. She insists that his troubles are down to him refusing to stand up for himself, and she leads him away from his easel with the promise that she will give him the key to end this pattern of abuse. They end up entering a theatre with posters advertising something called "Another Me" pasted on the walls outside.

Inside, a man begins to detail the many humiliations that the artist has suffered in life. They begin to bounce information back and forth, creating a list of victimizers that the artist wants dead. The man in the theatre has given him a gun and instructed him to shoot every time they mention a new person. The gun appears to be empty, but when the list is complete, it goes off for real, killing the man on the stage. The transformation is complete, and a newly emboldened artist takes to the streets, one by one exacting his revenge on the people on his list. All the while, the woman with the camera keeps following him, documenting this newly created vengeance tale. Is it all real, or is it merely a concoction of her and her colleague? And what will happen to this new structure when the artist turns on her and kills her, too, knocking her camera to the ground?

Upon completing his list, the artist goes to the studio of another portrait painter, but this time she is the real deal. She provides a place of rest for him in her studio, a place where authentic art is created. When he awakes from his slumber, the cycle begins again. Or did the other action happen at all? Was there "another" him, or was it all in his head? Before we can get our own minds wrapped around what may be happening, Kim Ki-Duk throws in another twist, exposing his own camera crew in a way similar to Abbas Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherry.

Real Fiction was apparently shot in one day with no retakes. Sometimes that is apparent, as not every moment is perfect. Yet, the important part is the experiment. Kim Ki-Duk is creating a multi-layered reality that is both false and somehow true, an indictment of our entertainment and the blurring of everyday life. In some ways it's just a lark, and in others, very heavy.

My Little Airport have released their second album, because i was too nervous at that time. It's more accomplished than their debut (which I reviewed here) while still maintaining the simplicity of it. The songs are all under three minutes, but P. has turned to more abrasive sounds to create his minimal backing, like he and Nicole are taking Phil Specter and Velvet Underground and making them sound as sweet and inviting as Saint Etienne.

My Little Airport should be everyone's new favorite band.

Current Soundtrack: Sigur Ros, Takk...

Current Mood: tired

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[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

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