March 21, 2010

Antique Bakery: Cooking up a Sweet Little Mystery

I haven't received many Korean movies recommendations for my blog. In fact, I've received just one: Antique Bakery from a reader named The Purple Girl. Well, I wish more people would share their favorites because Min Kyu-dong's film is a highly enjoyable bonbon, a sweetly fruity comedy about the friendship that evolves between a gay patissier (Kim Jae-wook) with "demonic powers of attraction" and a bakery owner (Ju Ji-hun) struggling with repressed memories of being kidnapped by a serial killer. If that set-up sounds more twisted than twee, take into account that the movie is based on Fumi Yoshinaga's popular manga. Because of its source, snappy irreverence holds sway over psychological derangement; the comic book colorfulness informs everything from the song-and-dance fantasies to the secondary characters like a retired boxer who finds a second life as a baker (Yu Ah-in) and a bodyguard (Choi Ji-ho) whose devotion to his boss extends to serving him hot cocoa in bed. While romance flirts between all four leading men, the only serious man-on-man action comes when the pastry chef re-encounters his mentor (Andy Gillet), a lovely Frenchman with the biggest non-Asian role that I've ever seen in a Korean movie. It's all pretty delicious!

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