Synopsis: These two short films, featuring the same actors, are a study of infidelity. “Red Vacance” tells the story of a married man having an affair with a younger woman. “Black Wedding” features a woman who asks an old lover to officiate her wedding.
eyelights: the humour of “Red Vacance”. the photography in “Red Vacance”. the sexy bits.
eyesores: the storytelling in “Black Wedding”. the cheapness of “Black Wedding”.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked you to go on a vacation with me.”
‘Bul-eun ba-kang-seu geom-eun we-ding’ is a motion picture that I literally stumbled upon by random chance. I once saw a picture of star In-hye Oh at some event, wearing a plunging blood orange dress. Having never seen this goddess before, I just had to find out who she was. When I did, I backtracked to one of the few films the Korean actress has starred in.
The film, which is also known as ‘Red Vacance Black Wedding’ consists of two short films that are cemented together by a wrap-around story of a producer and film crew discussing ideas for a project. This part is shot in a documentary style, and it’s credible enough that it’s not 100% if it’s really documentary footage or if it’s presented as such for the picture.
In any event, as they come up with concrete ideas for a short, pictures of the main cast are shown and the film is presented.
1. Red Vacance 7.75
This one is a about long-term lovers Sun-Mook and Hee-Rae, who are planning to go on a holiday abroad together. The problem is that Sun-Mook is married and his spouse, Bok-Soon, finds out about his affair – so she decides to interfere with their plans, taking advantage of Sun-Mook’s cowardice to get between him and Hee-Rae. Then she secretly sets up a rendez-vous between the two at a country inn, and proceeds to get her revenge.
Interestingly, despite its subject matter, “Red Vacance” is actually a comedy. Bok-Soon, for instance, is portrayed as a caricature, all dumpy with garish clothes and large glasses. And there are all sorts of peculiar situations that pepper the mix, like Bok-Soon’s dog eating the cialis that she was planning to give Sun-Mook for him to have sex with her, or an erratic stranger tossing Hee-Rae’s luggage over a bridge out of inexplicable frustration.
Even the music is playful, lifting up what could have been awkward or ghastly proceedings (like when Sun-Mook gets his penis caught in a bear trap. Ouch.). Yong-jin Jeong’s compositions were pitch-perfect here, contributing greatly to the tone. And director Tai-sik Kim had a knack for shooting the scenes for comic effect, case-in-point the forklift chase. In fact, in general the direction was rather good, with some rather nice shots along the way.
“Red Vacance” was a good time.
2. Black Wedding 6.0
Its follow-up, however, had a less successful outcome. An erotic drama, it tells the story of an affair between Keu-Nyeo and her professor. Newly-married, she is having a difficult time leaving her mentor and lover behind to go on her honeymoon. It’s basically forty minutes of melancholy and unexplored motivations: Why did they start the affair in the first place? Why would she marry someone else, whom she doesn’t love?
The storytelling is simply not coherent enough, both from a writing perspective and from a directorial standpoint (What is this empty restaurant where they have their rendez-vous in? Why does the professor’s hair go from black to grey in a few short weeks?). Even the filmmaking is lacking, with “Black Wedding” looking like an amateur film shot on crap video – the very opposite of “Red Vacance”, which was inspired and gorgeous.
The only truly redeeming value of this picture is that it stars In-hye Oh, who may not be the world’s finest actress, but who has curves like it’s nobody’s business. And those curves are used to great effect throughout, from her form-fitting attire to the many sex scenes between Keu-Nyeo and her mentor. I mean, it’s not much to go on, but it was really difficult not to forget the short’s weaknesses in those moments.
Still, it’s not enough to salvage “Black Wedding”, which ultimately hobbles ‘Red Vacance Black Wedding’. Whereas the film begins on a quirky, even fun note, it then loses all momentum by the lack of imagination and skill involved in its counterpart. It’s a damned shame because, with two equally potent components, this would have been a really enjoyable film.
As it stands, it grinds to a halt. And no amount of sexy eye candy can save it.
Date of viewing: May 23, 2016