February 1, 2009

Sweet Dream: She Wants What She Wants

"How can a housewife not care about housekeeping?" Exasperating questions such as this one make the heartless, self-absorbed behavior of Sweet Dream's anti-heroine something to root for. But expecting your sympathies to stick with her as she purchases the most expensive dress in the store out of spite, turns her lover in to the cops out of boredom, and mows down her daughter in a taxi because she simply has to catch that train may be asking too much of audiences -- feminist or not. Regardless of whether you relish her evil nature or hunger for her downfall, this is nevertheless one melodrama that promises to satisfy. Three other things to like about Yang Ju-nam's wicked potboiler. 1. A dance performance by a guy (with amazing thighs) who quips upon receiving a bouquet from the bad girl: "Pretty flowers have thorns." 2. A classroom scene in which young girls are taught that if they're killed or crippled, it's their parents who will suffer. 3. A final, scenery-chewing suicide made more delicious by the entrance of the husband who realizes there's no point in shooting this bitch of a wife because she's already dead. Sweet Dream is among the earliest talkies we have from Korea but its pleasures extend beyond the historic.

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