December 10, 2008

Save the Green Planet: The Movie That Converted Me

I don't know if Jang Joon-Hwan's Save the Green Planet is the greatest Korean movie ever made but it's certainly the one I've watched the most often (five times and counting) and, alongside Park Chan-wook's Oldboy, can be credited with turning me into a Korean film fan for life. Every time I watch it, I'm struck anew by its complex storytelling, its rich cast of characters, its pictorial sophistication, its utter profundity. That its outrageous ending shocks me every single viewing is a testament to how irrestibly its trippy narrative pulls you in. Save the Green Planet isn't just a movie, it's an alternate reality, its own self-contained world. I can think of few other movies that qualify as love story, scifi thriller, satirical comedy, and surreal critique on the nature of reality. Being John Malkovich comes the closest but Save the Green Planet packages it all in an outsider art esthetic that makes it truly one-of-a-kind. Is the kidnapped CEO (Baek Yun-shik) an ambassador from Andromeda? Can a rumpled detective (Lee Jae-yong) outwit a serial killer (Shin Ha-kyun) who keeps bees? Will an acrobatic naif (Hwang Jeong-min) find the love she deserves? Watch it and see. Then watch it again. And again. And again.


  1. I will too. Word to the mothership!

  2. Love this. I first saw it at a midnight screening during the Tartan Asia Extreme roadshow all by myself, still my most memorable cinema-going experience.