Weird and Wonderful, This Film is Both Otherworldly and Everyman
I have no idea what’s happening. Really. Me and Me starts out weird and just gets weirder and weirder. Yet it’s somehow wonderful at the same time.
The set up features a couple – Soo-Hyeok (Bae Soon-Bin) and Yi-Young (Cha Soo-Yeon) – who move from Seoul to a rural village. The husband is a school teacher, his wife stays at home. They appear to be perfectly happy together.
But at night something happens – I promise I’m not giving anything away here – the wife appears to channel spirits. The couple bumps along, hiding and managing it together. But then someone finds out.
Now here’s where the weirder comes in. Halfway through, the film shifts from one odd circumstance to another. There’s a police detective, Hyeong-Goo (Cho Jin-Woong) trying to figure out what’s happening. It’s difficult for both Hyeong-Goo and me to work out the thread that links the two scenarios but there are bits and pieces; clues that connect but don’t necessarily interconnect.
It’s like a parallel universe but not quite Bizarro World, as nothing is so obviously balanced. I was glued to the screen, trying to keep up, noticing little facts as it went along. Tip: keep your eyes peeled at the hot spring scene.
Like landing on another planet and finding you understand one or two words, those words become precious. When it doesn’t look like there’s an escape pod running anytime soon, one must adapt. And with that, accept – sometimes, however incomprehensible, it just is what it is.
Written and directed by award winning actor, Jung Jin-Young, he also appears in The Happy Life, another movie showing as part of the 2020 London Korean Film Festival. With a slew of film and TV credits behind him, Jung most recently appeared in 2019 horror flick, Svaha: The Sixth Finger and 2020 TV drama, My Unfamiliar Family. He’s a busy guy.
The resonating theme is with a clutch of characters’ identity-related concerns. And everyone has a secret pocket of pain. That could be anyone on any given day, including a grade-school kid concerned with locker privacy. What could he possibly be hiding in there? Perhaps an Abyss-style marble.
In any case, there’s a certain camaraderie when faced with the great unknown. Both other-worldly and everyman, there’s something uplifting in all the random, particularly as Hyeong-Goo puts his anger, frustration and investigative nature aside and starts integrating; shifting from outsider to inhabitant, on his way to neighbour.
Though superbly shot and filled with detail, if you’re bothered by ambiguity this movie may not be your friend. I think it’s one heck of a film – and completely film festival material. My advice: maybe stay away from the pine needle liquor. Especially the bathtub version, you know, just in case. And be sure to watch through to the credits, so you don’t miss the subtle payoff.
Here’s the final take away, wrapped tight like an Amazon package: No matter how at a loose end you feel; no matter how crazy your life is, there are others who feel your pain. As you scratch your head through this film, take comfort – you are certainly not alone. How nice.
If you’ve got other ideas about what’s happening in this film, please comment in the section below – I’m so keen to hear it. Looking forward to your thoughts – no cheating; no spoilers!
Part of the line-up for the 2020 London Korean Film Festival, drama/fantasy Me and Me, will be screened at select London cinemas in November. If you’re interested in weird and wonderful flicks, this one would certainly be worth (safely) watching on a proper-sized screen if you can score a limited ticket.
Verdict - 9/10