With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Monday, January 25, 2010

ACF 460: Members of the Funeral - reminder and review

Hee-Joon (Ju-seung Lee), the sensitive writer

Members of the Funeral, director Seung-bin Baek's first film, has its North American Premiere tomorrow, Tuesday, January, 26th at 7:00 PM. The free screening presented by the Korean Cultural Society will be at the Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops. You must RSVP to info@koreanculture.org or call 2120759-9550 to be admitted, assuming any seating is still available.

A-mi (Kim Byeol), who sees beauty in dead things

The film is a fascinating character driven story, primarily about four individuals. Hee-Joon (Ju-seung Lee), is a high school student and a sensitive writer. His manuscript, also entitled "Members of the Funeral." is about the three members of a family. Kwang-rok Oh portrays the father, Jun-ki, a closeted gay physical therapist who makes a play for Hee-joon. Jeong-hee (Myeong-sin Park) is his teacher, who berates him in person and plagiarizes his work in private. Their daughter A-mi (Kim Byeol) is a schoolmate of Hee-Joon's and, for someone so young and lovely, incongruously concerned with dead things.

The film is intriguing and more than a bit enigmatic. Do these people exist for real, or are they only characters in Hee-Joon's manuscript? Did Hee-Joon actually commit suicide, and if he did, was it to bring them together for his funeral? There are no easy answers here, but there's plenty of mystery, some black humor Korean-style, and perhaps just a bit of David Lynch.

Well worth watching (and I'm pretty sure it'll stand up to repeated viewings), Members of the Funeral gets an ACF rating of 3.5 stars, highly recommended.

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