Can you be overwhelmed by a film you don’t really like? I just walked out of this South Korean documentary. The cinema was packed, I was in the middle of a row. For twenty minutes I struggled with the urge to flee, not wanting to disturb the people around me. Leaving was such a relief. I’m sitting here outside the Kino, still shaking, wanting to cry.
So, why? It wasn’t a bad film. I was a bit bored. It could have been beautiful but it was shot on digital. It’s about an elderly couple, she’s 89, he’s 98, living a spartan life in what looks like rural South Korea. Nothing really happens, they’re just cute – throwing leaves at each other, throwing snow at each other, bickering, holding hands. He’s obviously ill and so frail.
You find out a little about their lives but not much. The camera hangs back, there is no narration, little context. It is a bit sentimental. So I left because I was hot and bored and trapped and needed the loo. It was only as I pushed open the door in the dark and felt that first rush of cool air that I realised that I didn’t want to sit there and watch this man die. Silly really, maybe he doesn’t. I cried anyway.