November 24, 2010

The Naked Kitchen (Ji-yeong Hong, 2009)

Next up for my Fantasia adventure this year is the romantic comedy 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 also to indulge my penchant for Korean films. Ever since last year when my favourite 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) to name a few—but 2009 was my awakening to the relevance of Korean cinema.

The Naked Kitchen was 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.