November 24, 2010

The Naked Kitchen (Ji-yeong Hong, 2009)

Next up, The Naked Kitchen. This one was chosen for its peculiar premise (a love triangle between a couple and the chef temporarily living with them) but mostly to indulge my Korean film fixation. Ever since last year when my favorite films of the year ended up being Rough Cut (Jan Hung, 2008), which I saw at Fantasia 2009 and Antique (Kyu-dong Min, 2008), both of Korean origin, I’ve been researching and watching Korean films extensively and attentively. I had been in contact with them a few times before - with Oldboy (Kim Ki-Duk, 200), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (Kim Ki-Duk, 200) and The Good, The Bad, and The Weird (Ji-woon Kim, 2008) just to name a few - but 2009 was my awakening of sorts to the relevance of Korean cinema.

That said, The Naked Kitchen was very disappointing, even with the presence of Ji-hun Ju (Kim from last year’s Antique) and its appealing premise. It did everything wrong: the comedy, the intimacy, the awkward moment of betrayal, the dialogue, the depiction of food (which Antique also did so well), and on and on. Writer-director Ji-yeong Hong, in his first feature film outing, fails to show any instinct, delivering no real auteurist promise for his future. All in all, a vacuous experience.