Why Watch? Two years ago, Chan-wook Park announced that he was making a short film with his brother Chan-kyong shot entirely on an iPhone. At the time, he lauded the device for being portable, easy to use and populist in its appeal. It was exciting — a seasoned filmmaker was toying with something new. Anything could happen.
In the film, a man goes fishing (after a rock band jams for a while…) before encountering a mysterious woman and engaging with the spirit world. It’s horror done through Park’s tilted lens with a hint of South Korean melodrama and religiosity thrown in for good measure. Sadly (but not surprisingly), the clarity and camera work is absolutely an issue. Although there are a few impressive panning shots that use several well-placed focal points to create the illusion of expansion and contraction, over all the iPhone element is a gimmick that hangs like an albatross.
Fortunately, the story is imbued with some colorful, joyous strangeness and an enticing exploration of sacrifice and loss. There are moments that channel Kurosawa and others that go off on their own path through the wilderness. The black and white segment is especially ghostly in its shaded wonderments. It just would have been great to see it shot with something you can’t play Angry Birds on.
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