Film Review: Windstruck

   Films will often showcase the transformative power of love in the ethereally positive - how finding the "other half" can complete a person, give their life meaning, bringing joy to a previously barren existence. Yet, equally full of pathos, is the jarring effect that having such profound purpose forcibly removed from an individual's heart can have.

   Windstruck (aka Let Me Introduce My Girlfriend), the majestic Kwak Jae-yong's follow up to My Sassy Girl, is a rare movie which attempts to show matters of the heart at their two polemic extremes - from the first, elavative flourishes of romance through to the blackened embers that remain of a soul when love has been removed.

   The inimitable Jun Ji-hyun stars as the ambitious, potentially over-zealous, Seoul police office Yeo Kyung-jin who, in a moment of over-dilligence, accidentally arrests a meek high school teacher Go Myung-woo (Jang Hyuk) on suspicion of theft. Whilst the real purse-snatcher makes a get-away, Yeo submits her captive to the type of slapstick brutality of which only Jun Ji-hyun can administer - their introduction to each other certainly exists at the more violent end of "meet-cute". Yet, like all fine love stories, fate throws them together and their resentments melt away, hurt is replaced by tenderness and lilting co-dependency blossoms.
 
   Sadly, for Yeo and Go, this is not where the story ends. As with life, cruelty can spring from nowhere and the existence-long journey our companions had planned together is abominably destroyed. Whimsy and jocundity are replaced with something incredibly more somber and sobre as we realise that fate can only exist when our plans come true; the presence of love can make a soul soar, it's absence to deflate.

   Yet, as one fine philospher once noted, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all - and it is in the glowing embers of love's remembered ashes that Yeo looks for solace and redemption. Mary Elizabeth Frye's famous poem Do Not Stand At My Grave is heartbreakingly evoked as Yeo understands that Go exists in the places all around her - when she calls out to the wind, the universe replies. As Windstruck falls further and further into the realms of magic realism Kwak reminds us of both the poetry that can be found all around us if our hearts have ever known true affection, and just how real magic is to those who have ever truly experienced love.

   As ever, Jun Ji-hyun is a marvel to observe onscreen and brings a manic sincerity to her roles unmatched in world cinema. Her performance runs beyond the comprehendable as every imaginable human feeling is, at some point in Windstruck, etched upon her remarkable face in a period of just two hours. Immeasurable plaudits too must be given to Kwak Jae-yong who crafts an extravagantly woven, swooning meta textual tale of infinite beauty.
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2 comments

  1. THIS SOUNDS SAD :( love how you're watching lots of Korean movies lately!

    Danniella | www.famousinjapan.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd really like this one!

      Yup - trying to put loads more Korean-ness on site atm!

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