spectator thrown into the abyss – Thinking about cinema

Films and achievements

Rare are films that don’t solve their own mysteries. Because, one might ask oneself, why go to the movie if you remain unsatisfied, if the secrets have not been dispelled? While there are several possible answers, the fact remains that one of the dominant aesthetic joys of cinema is created by a sense of narrative balance, a serenity in the face of a job well done. The proof of this is the elementary narratological teaching that we receive in school: a story requires a hero, a quest, adventures, and, if possible, a happy ending: achievement. Art can give what reality is generally rather poor (successful end, triumph over adversity).

Whenever a movie doesn’t present this model, it’s somewhat suspicious. We must find the meaning and reason for this, which does not lie in the phenomena of absorption and balance. Let us say rather that our attention is naturally excited by the fact of this narrative transgression, and that therefore it must find an explanation for it. A simple hypothesis is to view dissatisfaction as a militant way of describing reality.. Fellini, for example, deliberately upsets the viewer at the end he can not so as not to force art to play the role of a simple moral peacemaker. He seems to be saying something like: “cinema should not run away from reality, but express it even in its contradictions and its tragedy.” This is an idea characteristic of the neo-realism of the 50s and 60s, which tends to depict in images the “adversity ratio” that is present in reality. Therefore, for honesty, it is necessary to break with the scheme of cinema-perfect, cinema-triumphant.

Memories of murder

The film we are interested in Memories of murder requires special explanation. Bong Joon Ho tells us a story where the police can’t give a proper description of the killer. Even when the evidence seems to converge, it loses its value at the last minute… People’s efforts are not rewarded; reality and their own stupidity seem to guarantee their eternal failure. But this is not the idea that interests us.

The film is staged in such a way as to give an interpretation that at first glance may seem comical: there is no killer in the film. Remember the final close-up of Detective Pak Dooman’s face. When he interrogates a little girl who must have seen the killer, she is content, like any description, with the assertion that the killer is like everyone else, that he has a face usual. Pak Dooman then persistently locks onto the target. The plan (1.1-1.3) is quite thin: 1) looks at the horizon like the killer was there 2) it fixes the lens, 3) a slight movement of the camera allows you to emphasize the importance of this last look. Park’s sudden realization is the very content of our hypothesis; namely, that this ordinary face is the face of the spectator. He is no longer looking her reality, but our: we are killers.

But what could that mean? we killer? Just as we desire a narratively relaxing and morally satisfying dive; just as we want triumph, we must also want the very existence of evil.. Bong Joon Ho’s message goes like this: “I don’t just want to please the viewer, nor do I want to describe the randomness and frustration that reality creates; I want to show the narrative responsibility of the viewer, who, by the very fact that he wants fulfillment, also wants death.”

At the same time, in the form of metafilm discourse, he shows the specific essence of cinema, since it is production which meets the set of expectations of the mass of “ordinary” viewers. The will to accomplish logically presupposes the will to evil as such, even if it is within and within the closed space of art. What makes this film both a cinematic success and a philosophical one.

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