I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006)

I don’t watch many films on TV these days; if I’m counting right I’ve only seen about 20 of the 150+ items I’ve reviewed on this blog so far on TV for the first time (plus a handful more repeat viewings). There are various reasons why, but certainly one is the bloody ads; when SBS capitulated to ads during programming instead of just between them, it was kind of like one more nail in the coffin. Also, of late, there just hasn’t been an awful lot on TV attracting me to sit down with it, other than the Schlocky Horror Picture Show on Friday nights. But the TV guide on Sunday revealed that on Thursday night SBS were showing something I actually did want to see for once, namely Park Chan-wook’s follow-up to his vengeance trilogy… a love story set in a mental institution. Korean audiences apparently didn’t find the terrific shooting spree in the middle of the film enough after Park’s previous work, maybe cos it was, after all, a hallucination by one of the young lovers… a shame, cos I enjoyed this rather a lot myself. What intrigued me was that the film is described as a “romantic comedy, surrealist film” by Wikipedia, and given the setting it seemed like the sort of thing which could go horribly wrong; it’d be terribly easy to mmake a comedy about mental illness that laughs at rather than with its characters. That Park doesn’t do this is quite impressive, and while the film does find some humour in the patients’ strange behaviour it evinces more compassion for them than anything; I wonder how often in avowed romantic comedies you find yourself rooting for the young lovers (she thinks she’s a cyborg, he thinks he can steal people’s souls) in the way you do here, particularly when deep down you know there isn’t actually a lot of hope for either of them attaining a happy ending.

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