Hae-kang (played by Park Jung-pyo) is an independent film director. Like most directors in the independent circuit, he struggles with short films, trying to gain enough recognition at a major film festival to acquire funding for a feature length project. And Hae-kang has managed to get this funding, kind of. He faces much more logistical difficulties, though. Boring stuff like gaining permission to film at certain locations. Also Hae-kang's staff is nearing revolt. And his personal life is kind of falling apart.
That's right, "Director's CUT" is another one of those films- one where the writer decides to write what he knows, and what he knows is constantly being frustrated and driven mad by his attempts to find success in film. This goes on to the point where he doesn't even know why he does what he's doing anymore. Hae-kang is under constant stress. The hot weather isn't the only problem. Hae-kang's brain is overheating too from the sheer madness of it all.
I often wonder whether independent filmmakers come up with movies like this to discourage the competition. "Director's CUT" is a fairly strong argument to not get involved in filmmaking. Hae-kang constantly feels like he's just pursuing a lost cause. Even the final scene typifies a lot of this. For all Hae-kang's frustrations, filmmaking is what he knows. And gosh darn it, after all this trouble, Hae-kang is at least going to get the final cut he wants.
The metaphor is actually stronger than it might seem at first glance. Think about your job. Try to think back to the single most frustrating moment of your career. Heck, you probably have several that qualify- I know I do. So why do we keep working? Well, because it's what we know. And let's be totally honest here. If we tried to get another job, we'd probably hate it a heck lot more than this one even if it was slightly less stressful, just because we wouldn't understand it as well.
Even though Hae-kang spends most of the runtime acting like a jerk, this edge makes his frustrations surprisingly sympathetic. What's more, "Director's CUT" has a very strong underlying layer of dry comedy. Several films-within-the-film make an appearance here, and in every case the out-of-context scene very much gives the impression of, what am I even doing with my life here? Do any of these films actually mean anything or am I just trying to find deeper philosophical meaning out of esoteric nonsense?
All right, maybe the chord "Director's CUT" struck with me was a little personal- but to heck with it, I like irony. To be sure, writer / director Park Joon-bum is neither the first nor the last person to try to make a film about film, and the sheer commonness of the subject matter might turn some potential viewers off. Even so, I enjoyed the subtle humor quite a bit. Just, you know what, fine, take my Beating Heart. I don't even care anymore. I'm lying of course I care guess it's time to get back to work.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Director's CUT""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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