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'Magicians' Plays Tricks on Audience

2006/03/30 | 120 views |  | Permalink | Source

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By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter
You can say that a movie is a genre that people have created to overcome the limitations that a theatrical play has _ mainly of time and space.

But "The Magician(s)", filmed with one, long tracking shot, develops such limitations into its own "tricks" to tell a story of love and friendship.

The result is that you feel as if you were watching a 90-minute play yet with more of an intimate feeling for the characters as the camera tracks down the detailed change in their emotions.

Directed by Song Il-gon, the film revolves around the members of a music band, who gather at a bar to commemorate their late guitarist. It's been exactly three years since the band, named Magician, broke up after their friend died.

It is the last day of the year with snow covering all over the deserted forest of a rural town in Kangwon Province. Drummer Jae-sung (played by Jeong Woong-in) and bassist Myung-soo (Jang Hyeon-seong) wait for vocalist Ha-young to come to Jae-sung's remote bar.

The two friends are drunk and recall their past when they were all together. But they soon have to face the reality that things cannot return to the way they were.

Their agony results from the loss and the fact that they don't know how to move on. Jae-sung still misses his dead girlfriend and Myung-soo wants his ex-girlfriend Ha-young back in his life.

The simple story, however, seems to be full of contrasts _ life and death; past and present; the everyday world and life in seclusion; religious and secular lives; and reality and fantasy. The boundaries, however, between them are all intermingled in the film's one, long take.

The ghost of Ja-eun is present at the bar, but she appears to be alive along with the recollections of her friends. With their grief, they cannot move on from their gloomy past. The "musicians" can't play music any more just like Magician(s) who can no longer do tricks.

The camera follows the characters and stylishly captures their emotions but also maintains a certain distance, which helps audiences join the journey of each character's past through their memories.

But the film's experimental journey can be seen too long given its simple storyline however stylish and delicately it is put together. (The continually moving camera might give you the feeling of being a little carsick.)

Compared to its 40-minute version, which was made as part of a film project for the Sixth Jeonju International Film Festival last year, the feature version may fall short of taking the audience to its destination.

The film is now only showing at some of CGV chain theaters in Seoul, Inchon and Pusan.

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