A brilliant « Bleak night »

A short notice to speak about « Bleak Night » 파수꾼, independant korean feature which can still be seen in some Korean theaters, yet without subtitles.

The story revolves around a strong friendship between three college boys, but we soon notice that something is wrong : one of them seems to be missing in some sequences, while he’s very prominent in other ones, and in other sequences it seems that somebody died.

Precisely, what is interesting in this film is the storytelling : we navigate through three different times, sometimes without knowing exactly when we are. It may take some time to understand the structure, but it’s worth the thinking, because the characters become like « present » even when they are dead, « absent » even when they shout out loud.

A society obsessed by winners, therefore must have its loosers

More deeply, the film ends in telling why and how the third guy disappeared. It becomes then a very typically korean matter, a pressure of the society than cannot be said, and boys issues. It’s all about who’s winning and who’s losing, about Korean obsession on competition. A society where you need to have a winner, therefore must have its looser. There is no place for a third choice, a third guy. You have to be in final, among the winners. You have to be there, on time, following the rules. If not, you are nothing at all. You have nothing left but to disappear.

« Bleak Night » is very impressive for a first feature of a very young director, freshly graduated from one of the two best movie school of Korea, the KAFA (Korean Academy of Film Arts). Editing, acting of unknown talents and camera work are especially outstanding at this step, this age. The film has been recognized in many festivals, it started in Pusan New Currents, then when to Rotterdam, Berlin or Fribourg. The director, Yun Seong-hyeon 윤성현, is obviously to be followed.


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