February 28, 2015

Ghost: The Hip Bone's Not Connected to the Funny Bone

A child molester/murderer (Kang Tae-yeong) is on the loose in "Ghost." Is he dead? Is he alive? Is he even human? Or is he some magical creature who sucks chicken bones then turns them into a self-propelling puppet? I'd say, he's definitely the last bit — a demented sorcerer of sorts — unless that dancing bag of bones is only in his head which means we're back to square one: Who is he? Is he an acrobatic escape artist? A schizophrenic who hears voices? A personification of the slum in which lives, a neighborhood of ramshackliness that's being knocked down to make way for new apartments or maybe a mall?

"Ghost" isn't particularly interested in being clear or straightforward. Director Dahci Ma (a.k.a. Lee Jung-jin) is a born experimenter so even in a short as short as this one (a mere ten minutes), she's packed in the aforementioned animation section, a creepy, people-less montage with voiceovers narrating mass eviction, some neo-realist crowd scenes, an otherworldly hopscotch match, a cop chase-scene clearly involving stunt work... And although "Ghost" ends abruptly, it doesn't feel truncated. It's feels done. Why draw it out, right?

I did a little research on Dahci and it looks like she's done exclusively shorts — including this one which was selected for Cannes and "The Mysteries of Nature" which snagged her the Jury Prize at 37th Dance on Camera Festival, a movie festival that I've been meaning to see for many a year. (Is it still around?!) Yet despite the successes, Dahci has still yet to make a feature (or if she's made one I see no record of that online). I'd be eager to see her bring her sensibilities to a longer format. And when she does, you can read about it here.

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