안녕하세요, 시간에 친구, 그리고 내가 비교 시간 여행이 등장하는 다른 영화를 누른 상태에서 볼에 미래로 돌아 가기 제 주간보기를 넣어 시네마 52의 일반 기능에 오신걸 환영합니다. 그것은 나를 제정신을 유지하지 않을 수 있습니다,하지만 아마 항상 한 사람이 “이 말이 안 돼요!”소리 참여되며, 그것으로 충분 해.

IL MARE (2000)

One of the harder time travel films to track down and our first non-English Time Out feature, Il Mare is about a magic mailbox that sends letters (and anything else that fits in it) two years back and forth through time. Han Sung-hyun (Jung-Jae Lee) moves into the seaside house by the mailbox and receives a letter from the “previous” (?!?.!) tenant, Kim Eun-ju (Gianna Jun), even though the house was just built. If that concept sounds familiar, it’s the movie that American cheesefest The Lake House was based on. Is Il Mare the better choice for the lactose intolerant?

THE STORY:
Fuck The Lake House.

Be safe, kids.

I expected there to be only two extremes: either The Lake House classed up a shitty-looking and/or bugnut insane foreign romance, or it took a beautiful Korean film and utterly sodomized it with the eagle penis that is America. Unfortunately, it’s that second one, and even worse, you will have a much harder time getting your hands on the far superior Il Mare if you live in places that aren’t Korea. You can probably find a copy of The Lake House at the nearest gas station.

First of all, Il Mare is too good for any sentient mailbox flag cuteness or magically appearing trees. This is merely a story of two pen pals who want to meet but can’t figure out how. We root for them to get together because we want it to happen, not because we feel like it just has to happen. And the scenes of them almost meeting are wonderful. Take, for example, when Eun-ju recalls the day she lost her tape player at the train station. Sung-hyun realizes that, being in her past, he may have time to go get it, so he makes a mad dash to the station and sees Eun-ju getting on the train. He scrambles to get the player and run after her, but he’s too late. Defeated, he sits down to listen to the tape, and her voice is on it (she works as a voiceover artist). He records a message on the tape and leaves it for Eun-ju, allowing her to hear his voice for the first time. Son of a romance.

“Thank God, she sounds nothing like that woman from The Net.”

This is one of many simple, lovely scenes that leads us to a satisfying reveal. There is a sense of mystery to this movie, while The Lake House just farts info at you from the beginning so it can hold your hand on the way to the end. I can see the studio meeting for the remake in my mind: “Yeah, Japan, whatever, listen… we need some of that time travel shit! You know, Michael McFly’s hand getting all weird? Where’s that? People gotta know weird shit is happening!” *snort*

God, The Lake House. Just watching that movie for ten minutes will ruin the ending of Il Mare. I don’t recommend it. (I’ve not mentioned the most important of plot points in my Lake House review, so you’re safe.) Ugh, let us never speak of lakes or houses any more.

THE ACTING:
Hey, chemistry! It’s a thing!

One that’s hard to show with screenshots.

Not since Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan has a couple who don’t meet face to face shown such care and affection for each other. I can really feel them starting to make a connection, not to mention their anguish when things don’t seem to work out right.

It’s not perfect, to be purely honest, but it’s the best chemistry I’ve seen in these sorts of movies, that’s for damn sure. There are some moments of “wacky fun for wacky fun’s sake” that were a bit jarring for me, but hey, that’s romance, right? A lot of movies have that problem. Hell, a lot of people have that problem. (“It’s not working… I’ll tell a joke!”)

It’s Goofy Noodle Fun Time!

Pulling off a fun date scene without your co-star in the room is a pretty great achievement. I like these two.

THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
There are hardly any, and the ones I could mention, I can’t really show. There’s a great effect where an unfinished building transitions to a completed one with not-quite-a-dissolve, not-quite-a-morph. There are also many interesting visuals achieved with rapid edits, backwards film, and putting the actors and the mailbox on a large rotating platform.

Love! Wheeeee!

Hey, you know what I find romantic? Grainy old film cameras and beautiful composition. The best effects here happen through cinematography rather than bullshit. There’s meaning in the shot instead of the exposition. For that alone, it blows that other movie I’m supposed to stop mentioning out of the water.

OTHER STUFF:

  • Did you know that the Awkward Advice-Giving Best Friend of the Prettier Single Woman trope is also prevalent in Korean romances?

  • The title of this movie is Italian; it was originally called Siworae and I can’t figure out what that means. Nor do I know why Sung-hyun names his house “the sea” in Italian. Way to downgrade to a lake, stupid other movie I stopped talking about a long time ago.
  • This, another Korean film called Ditto, and the American film Frequency were all released in 2000 and all feature two characters in different times finding a way to communicate with each other. Neat coincidence.

THE “NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE!” MOMENT:
Since this section of every Time Out article is about the dialogue, it’s time we discuss one of the biggest problems with enjoying the film: the subtitles on this DVD (which as near as I can tell is all official and shit) are not great.

They’re not atrocious; nobody lovingly points at his chest and says, “I punch you with all my salad.” Most of the errors are simple tense confusion and can be quickly corrected in your mind without too much trouble. Unfortunately, there are a few moments where you can tell they’re really trying to say something poignant, but you have to ignore the whole sentence once it starts becoming a sloppy mess of articles and conjunctions.

Just for fun, here are some of the worst subtitles.

  • There are three things that cannot be hidden. Cough, Poverty, and Love.
  • ‘Il Mare’ looked lonely and solely house but it feels warm again because it’s the place of love.
  • I treat you very special meal.
  • Am I so strange person?
  • It wasn’t easy to study animation in USA by alone.

In fairness, my opening paragraph in Korean is probably much, much worse.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
You should watch Il Mare first. And when I say “first,” I mean “only.” The Lake House is just stealing its skeleton and pretending it has meat on its own bones. Il Mare is one of the best time travel romances I’ve seen, and if you happen to find it in a video store, grab it right there, because this sucker is hard to find, but worth the effort.

NEXT WEEK:
Premonition (2007)

Want more time travel? Head on over to the Time Out archive.