Spoilers A Quiet Dream--impressions and comment

Discussion in 'Cinema: International' started by divemaster13, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    A number of folks here (most everybody, I think) really liked A Quiet Dream. @plsletitrain mentioned she was waiting for me to watch it and then would join a discussion. Others, too, I believe were waiting on me. So I watched it this weekend and am creating this thread for said discussion. I didn't tag this thread as "Review" because I'm not really reviewing the film in my traditional manner.

    In a nutshell, y'all must have watched a different version than me. One where something happened. Nothing happened in the version I watched.

    I know, I know, and I'm kidding a little. I don't need a bombardment of action or thrills/suspense to enjoy a movie, but there's got to be something. There were the three loser-type guys, and the very pretty Chinese-Korean girl and her invalid father, and a little bit about the soccer/biker girl, and that's about all. I was't particularly captivated by their story. Perhaps I missed something. I know right at the end things made an abrupt turn, when the movie went to color and the invalid father got up out of his wheelchair and walked down the street, but I'll be gummed if I can assign any significance to that.

    I don't mind watching it again, if someone wants to help me out a bit here. It's well shot, and as far as a "series of scenes" go, it's an "ok" series of scenes. But I never got any overarching meaningful narrative. Just that 4 people in the movie were smitten with the pretty girl, and then they talked about this/they talked about that, the they wandered over here and then wandered over there.

    I'm led to believe the girl died at the end. The placement of her portrait in the traditional Korean memorial manner pretty much gives that impression, but there's no scene or story element that leads up to that (or is there???). She walks out of the bar one night; the next day we see her portrait, and then the color ending and then roll credits.

    I want to like the movie more, but am having a hard time here. Help me out. Tell me what fascinated you about it.
     
  2. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    My response isn't worth much because it's so predictable. The film made me smile, it was pleasant to look at, and it had a dance number = thunbzup.gif

    I don't think there is anything you missed in the film. Seems like you just didn't enjoy spending time with the characters. I think I pointed out how much joy I felt from the dance numbers, brief as they were; how meta-aware the theater scene was; the cool music; how deep the characterizations were; how deeply immersed in the world of the characters I felt; etc.

    If you go see a standup comic and he amuses you for ninety minutes, do you walk out and think: "Well, that was funny but nothing happened"? Or you go to a music concert and enjoy the performance ... Or you meet someone in a bar and have a nice conversation ...

    You see where I'm going with this. What is it about a film that something must "happen"? I know I'm out on a limb, alone on this, but my only real problem with the film was when it tried to make something happen--make something happen in the sense of telling story. And this only happened after the film should have ended: right when the girl walks out the door to follow the motorcycle dude. The color bits, the funeral pic; the father walking down the street. That was all stuff trying to "say something", to "make something happen".

    I'm cool thinking that if the film would have had something to say more interesting, impactful, surprising, revelatory, Sixth Sense twisty, whatever, after she walked out the door it might have been a "better" movie. If it did, and assuming you made it that far, maybe you would give the film a reserved recommend? But it didn't. And if you weren't enjoying it up to that point, the ending sealed the deal = thumbdown.jpg

    I actually don't remember, but I seem to recall that there was something looming about the girl throughout the film that she was going to die early in life. A death wish, a genetic propensity, a medical diagnosis? Not that it matters.
     
  3. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Ha ha. I know you don't really mean that, else you wouldn't be here. And I don't have you pegged as well as @plsletitrain does, as I'm still not sure which particular movie might be considered a "sitenoise movie" and what you may or may not like. In any case, I always appreciate your opinions, whether they be in line, somewhat off, or diametrically opposed to mine. It's always worth reading.

    So, thanks for your thoughts on A Quiet Dream. I think, for me, a film has to move me. Move me to laughter, to tears, to action heart palpitations, to fear, to heartache, to longing, to be awestruck, to be mind-fucked, whatever. Hell, even cheesy HK period kung-fu flicks with the old white haired master flipping around with kung-fu powers often get a respectable rating from me, due to the sheer audacity of the spectacle and the choreography and the wire-work. Some of them are ostensibly just terrible movies that I happened to enjoy. They just move me to a happy place I guess. And some well-made classics leave me cold (or at least cool).

    I can't really predict which movies will do that and which ones won't. So it's not about action per se. Just...something. And I think I hold films to a different standard than the other mediums you mentioned. For example, music. I'm a huge fan of classical music and I can't listen to, say, the 4th movement of Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony No. 3 in C-minor without tearing up. It's a punch in the heart every time. Folks look at me like I'm nuts or something.

    So, while I did appreciate various random scenes in A Quiet Dream, it didn't hit any of my sweet spots. I will watch it again (it's certainly a rewatchable film). When I do I'll look for any foreshadowing concerning the girl. I do believe there may be something.
     
  4. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    Oh man, should I still watch this????? *puppy eyes*

    By the looks of your review, I'm getting the feeling I will be mesmeriZZZZzzzzZZZed by this. Kidding. I'll watch this (later in the afternoon) because I'm curious how could a father become "invalid"? mjeyds.gif Hehe. I don't have high hopes, but I'll drop my 2 (00) cents regardless.
     
  5. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I think we (generally) speak the same language. Its not necessarily mind-bending action and plot twists. Its that something we really can't define. And I doubt we can ever define it. Koreeda films don't have big explosions or shock-worthy plot twists, but I love them. I think the film has to speak. It has to say something that will be conveyed to me as a viewer.
     
  6. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    That's the bottom line.

    I'm away from my movie vault so I am unable to refer the film in question (and I'm still sort of reeling from You Were Never Really Here--a film about a guy who kills people with a hammer, btw, for those keeping score at home whether they have me "pegged"). But it seems to me that the three male characters in the film were archetypes of characters I wouldn't like. Dumb, slobby guys. One of them actually drooled. Somehow they moved me.
     
  7. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    Nah, we watched the same movie, because you’ve summed the whole thing up so beautifully here!

    Hmmm, how to help you out with what’s so good about A Quiet Dream? Well, for starters, you’re not going to find any secret key in the ending, but I’ll get to that later.

    A while back, This Charming Girl and April Story were mentioned, and I think I alluded to viewing certain movies as portraiture, rather than stories. A Quiet Dream falls squarely into this category. What I loved about the film was the characters that were painted, this picture of the bonds of friendship that they had, the little details that were created within each frame. I guess there’s kind of two interconnected elements that caused me to fall in love with this – there’s the way that the technical elements all fell together, from the scriptwriting that created the characters, the performances that brought them to life, the direction that added all the little details at the edges of the frame, and then there’s the characters themselves – I just really enjoyed hanging out with them for a couple of hours.

    This observation really hits the nail on the head as to whether or not someone is going to enjoy this movie – what did you think of the series of scenes? And if to someone they’re just “ok”, then that person simply won’t have the necessary personal connection to really enjoy the movie. Some people will talk about dancing, but here’s three scenes that made me think “how good is that?”

    • Towards the beginning, when the three friends walk into the bar the first time, underneath the banter the North Korean guy notices the girl’s glasses, sitting on the bench, are smudged. He picks them up and cleans them, while the others are talking. It’s a rather slight detail, but that single gesture added much more dimension to the dynamics of the relationships than the previous scene, where they tease him for kowtowing to the delinquent boss.

    • Also with the North Korean guy, there’s the scene where they come across the graffiti thumb. The wannabe gangster is setting up a joke, and the epileptic knows where he’s going with it, while the North Korean understands well enough, but following is a bit of a struggle. When they get to the punchline, and all give the girl the thumbs up, the North Korean’s timing is out – the other two make the gesture simultaneous, but he’s a second late. It was such a brilliant piece of timing.*

    • The epileptic guy appears in a t-shirt. Now he’s got no sleeve to wipe his runny nose on, so he’s clumsily tied a hanky around his wrist. The girls sees this straight away, and without saying anything, ties a proper knot so he won’t lose his hanky. That was so beautiful it gave me butterflies.
    There was something that leads up to her death, but for the life of me I can’t properly remember. Did she go for some medical tests? Was there something that the wannabe gangster saw in her apartment? Whatever the details, I thought it was pretty clearly signalled that she was probably going to die of cancer. I was left with the impression that it was pancreatic or liver, the same disease that had killed her mother.

    But the ending won’t give you a narrative arc, if that’s what you’re craving. If anything, the ending might be an anti-narrative arc – shit happens, things end, people die, nothing lasts forever … not even the wonderful collection of scenes that you’ve just watched.



    * I’d also love to get another translation on this scene – the audio to the trailer has words beeped out, but the subtitles don’t give any hint of vulgarity!
     
    • Love it! Love it! x 1
  8. sitenoise

    sitenoise Member: Rank 5

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    Damn. This is quite possibly the best review of any film I've ever seen on this board. Thanks, @clayton-12 .
     
  9. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I just finished watching this and I wasn't expecting I'll make it to the end, but to my own surprise, I did, and I was hooked. Well, not really hooked like big-bulging-eyes hooked, but I was attentive. And well, not as attentive as you all, because I just watched it and I can't remember the three key scenes that @clayton-12 enumerated but I "saw" a story. I think the main strength of the film is the characters. They were specifically charming and engaging.

    I enjoyed watching their company, their friendship, their struggles. It was a fun enjoyable friendship story I'm not keen on watching again anytime soon, but something that passed in my books.

    Re: the Ye-ri "memorial" and "invalid" father suddenly coming back to life, I think @sitenoise was correct when you said the movie tried to make a "story" out of it and I personally wouldn't mind if it did. But I'm also satisfied with the way things unfolded. If I were to make an explanation of it, I think there was a scene that touched on her looming death. The one with the fortune teller, when the man told her her father would live a long life and when she asked about hers, the fortune teller became.........unresponsive. And in another scene when Ye-ri was having stomach pains, the fortune teller came out of his tent and said "Not a good day".

    I'm quite on the opposite side on the dance numbers (although I'm getting the feeling that @sitenoise isn't referring to the literal dance numbers--I could be wrong, I don't think sitenoise could ever be "pegged". He's a species of his own.). Ye-ri suddenly dancing out of the blue and out of nowhere caught me off guarded I actually made an eyebrow-raising scene and asked whether they're sure she's not the one that needs the bipolar pills.

    I recognized Shin Min-ah as the North guy's girlfriend and when she sang was also a bit eye-brow raising/inquisitive shocking for me.

    Overall a lovely film. Ye-ri is a gorgeous actress here. Her natural finesse was highlighted when she was teamed with the 3 loser-type guys who are all also gorgeous in their own right.
     
    #9 plsletitrain, Apr 11, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  10. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Ah, yes. That's the scene I was trying to remember. I knew there was some foreshadowing in there somewhere.


    This absolutely made me laugh!

    Well. I'll give you this. Compared to This Charming Girl, A Quiet Dream is an action-packed thrill ride LOL.
     
  11. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    Observations like that make me wonder if I should give Camel(s) a go!
     
  12. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    I dare you. I Double-Dog Dare you.
     
  13. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    How can I resist? You know I'll do anything for two dogs.

    The funny thing is, I just read two mini-reviews that made it sound quite enticing, and I could end up thanking you. Personal taste being what it is, I'll probably have a better time with it than if I went to see a performance of Saint-Saens.
     
  14. divemaster13

    divemaster13 Member: Rank 4

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    Ok, you walked right into this one. The 4th movement is about 8 minutes long. This is one of the pieces that moves me.

    Saint-Saëns - Organ Symphony (4th movement)

     
  15. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    Thanks for sharing - it turned out to be somewhat different to what I had imagined. I'll have to confess to being a Philistine when it comes to classical music. I listened, but I wasn't engaged at all ... it's almost like I'm experiencing it in a vacuum, with no reference points with which to make any personal connection. It certainly didn't move me like This Charming Girl did!
     
  16. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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    I read the synopsis and watched the trailer in the hopes that This Charming Girl will be included in my to-watch list (I can certainly remember clayton or sitenoise made a favorable review of this one) and now I know why I didn't include it on my to-watch list. I'm leaning towards me not liking it.

    Speaking of reviews, I can only wish for a magical search bar ala google-type where I will just type a keyword and any and all posts related to it will appear. I've wanted to go back and re-read on some other previous reviews that were written on the recently seen thread but I sometimes get lost and my laziness to cull from the thread kicks in.
     
  17. clayton-12

    clayton-12 Member: Rank 3

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    Go to the top of the page - in the top right-hand corner there should be a little magnifying glass icon, and on the left of that, a darker red box with the word "Search ...". I've found in the past that it works really well for searching the boards, @Alex Vojacek
     
  18. plsletitrain

    plsletitrain Member: Rank 5

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