Allegedly "If You Were Me 6" is an omnibus detailing human rights. To be honest that seems kind of specious. I suppose it's true that handicapped people, elderly people, and religious people all sort of have the commonality of being possible victims of unfair persecution. But save for the final story none of the short films here really deal with something that could be called a systemic abuse of human rights.
Well, no matter. I imagine that from the directors' perspective this was more just a way of securing funding for their film ideas than an actual united omnibus. And for what it's worth, all three of the shorts are quite well done. The direction is consistently smooth, and the writing fairly tight. The basic conflicts are clearly delineated, and from there, each set piece just follows various characters as they struggle in their environment.
The first piece is actually more about schoolyard bullying in general than it is the handicapped. And it's really just as well, because the work does a good job recognizing how these aren't necessarily separate issues. A kid who is mean and abusive to a handicapped person is just as likely to be mean and abusive to anyone else who's weaker than he is. The overall message is just about building empathy, while also recognizing that teenage boys, at the end of the day, are just teenage boys. It's not productive to judge them so much as it is to encourage whatever progress they make in growing up.
The second piece is more a standard adventure between an old guy and a very young child. Of the three this is definitely the funniest one, and the levity is well-needed. The short really gets at the heart of why struggling to be a good person can quite literally be dangerous- it's very easy to make matters worse by accident. And even children can have secret hidden motives which an adult would never think of because, well, we're not kids anymore.
The last piece is my personal favorite. To spoil the exact nature of the religious persecution would be to dull much of the impact, but I was frankly shocked to discover that in this day and age a first world country like South Korea would willingly engage in this kind of behavior. The conclusion has a real strong dramatic impact, because this is a policy that does serious, unnecessary damage to a family- and for what? What's the point of defending a country that won't even pretend like it truly values free expression?
Your personal appraisal will probably vary. But regardless of that stake, all three of these are well-crafted, strong narrative stories, and anyone who values empathy with their fellow human beings will probably find some meaningful takeaway here. It's like the title says- if it was you in the main character's position, how would you react to these kinds of moral dilemmas? "If You Were Me 6" is ultimately just a reminder about how we need to try do the right thing- it's an important message that all of us need to remember to take to heart every so often.
Review by William Schwartz
Avaialble on DVD from YESASIA
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "If You Were Me 6""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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