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Asian Movie Review: Stateless Things (줄탁동시, 2011)

I generally don’t mind watching bad movies.  They usually have some redeeming features and entertainment value….   I even enjoy ‘art house’ film as well… and despite my severe conservatism,  I'm not opposed to well done gay cinema.  But I have to categorically say that I absolutely hated the film ‘Stateless Things’, a Korean film I watched during the HKIFF at the invitation of a friend. 

I quickly read that there were two separate story lines in this film, one about North Korean refugees living in Seoul and the other part about a male prostitute. ….  What do these two have in common?  Well nothing really….    But for some reason the director decided to combine them into one film… maybe he didn’t get enough funding for his male prostitute film so he conned someone out of a grant to make a film about North Korean refugees living in Seoul and tried to cram them both into one movie. 

 …and that’s just the tip of the iceberg about what a

crapfest this film is. There’s so many fundamental things wrong with this film that I’m angry that they charge people to actually watch it. The two North Korean refugee’s tale of living as an underclass in prosperous South Korea is the only thing that made this film worth watching, but for some reason the female character disappears and the male character who liked her suddenly decided to become the gay twin of the male prostitute in the other story line…   he/they decided to kill themselves (because they're both 'stateless'....)…. but for some reason decide to waste a few hours taping newspapers over the windows of their high rise apartment (why? No conceivable reason).    Oh, and the coup de gras…. How does a soaking wet, half-dead, half-naked guy walk down 50 flights of stairs in a building with the fire alarm going off without anyone noticing him? 

 As bad as those things are, it's the film making that's the real problem with this piece.  It seems like the director was trying to win a bet to see how many minutes long he could make a scene with no cuts before the audience walks out….     Or maybe he was over budget and his editor charges by the cut, so he tried to see if he could fill out a feature film with as few scenes as possible.  There’s at least 5 or 6 scenes that are 4+ minutes long that do little or nothing to advance the story line or character development after the first 30 seconds (case in point, the guy walking 20 blocks… nothing happens after the 3rd block that justifies us watching blocks 4 through 20). 

 As mentioned, the first 20-30 minutes about the North Koreans at the gas station is the only thing worth watching in this film.  That gets a 2/10, the rest of the film gets a 0/10.  That means its a 0/10!  I can't believe I wasted this much time thinking about this movie again to write the review.Avoid at all costs!

about 12 years ago 0 likes  5 comments  0 shares
Welcome to my world. Unfortunately, I think a lot of gay cinema is pretty sub par, but saying so in public runs the risk of getting branded a homophobe.
about 12 years ago
45862083 0af2fd4d5d
sean - yes, it seems so. the review in variety of this film somehow thought it had a place outside of Gay cinema.... which is also a cruel joke of a statement.
about 12 years ago
45862083 0af2fd4d5d
flagday - probably first 0... i've had more than a few 1's and 2's. like I said it takes a lot for me to actually be angry at how bad a movie is.
about 12 years ago


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April 13, 2007