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[HanCinema's Film Review] Confessions (Korean Short)

2011/05/28 | Permalink

"Confessions" may not have won the top prize at JIFF 2011, but the young mind behind it all got recognised and claimed the Best Director in the Korean Short Film category. "Confessions" was big crowd-pleaser, largely due to a pinpoint performance from Park Hyun-young ("Passerby #3") and an outright hilarious script.

The film begins with a Hebrew scripture that reads: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation". It's an appropriate piece that helps to blindside you from the film's comical twist. Park Hyun-young plays a religious mother known simply as "Joseph's mom". She arrives home one afternoon to discover that the door to her house is locked and she has no key. After watching her struggle to scale the wall, Joseph's school friend, Yeong-bae, offers her assistance. Joseph's mom thanks him by offering him some food and drink. The two start chatting and soon the conversation moves from polite pleasantries to slightly awkward, as Joseph reveals the story of how he came to acquire an adult DVD.

Being the religious woman that she is, Joseph's mom demonstrates all the understanding and nurturing any mother would hope to possess if this were her own child. Yeong-bae gradually comes clean with his tale to the astonishment of Joseph's mom, as she slowly digests each mischievous detail. Their chat moves from the living room to the kitchen and when it's time for Yeong-bae to finally leave, Joseph's mom feels successful in her calm and rational attempts to educate the boy in the rights and wrongs of his actions. This feeling is short-lived as her son comes home just in time to see Yeong-bae pull the DVD in question from their DVD player.

"Confessions" was brilliantly entertaining and refreshingly down to earth. The film was screened just after "Double Clutch" at JIFF 2011, which won Best Korean short this year, and I wonder how much of that affected its success, be it good or bad. The film's performances were filled with comical nuances that kept the laughs coming. Park Hyun-young didn't have to stretch herself as an actress but her typical demeanour was perfectly placed and helped to anchor the whole film. Yu Ji-young's scriptwriting had to be strong for this film to carry itself and it definitely was. Much praise has to be awarded to Yu Ji-young and her team for this little gem of a film.   

-Christopher J. Wheeler

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