Will I find them or will I die trying?
April Snow (2005) is a slow, but not necessarily dragging, and serious drama about a husband In-su (Bae Yong-jun), who is about to lose his wife due to an accident, and a wife Seo-young (Son Ye-jin) , who is also about to his husband due to same reason. The two find comfort in each other’s dreadful experience. It turns out their respective spouses was having an affair. This gave them more or less a reason to nurture a budding love.
The first thing I notice about the film is that the way they execute it gives the feeling of sadness and loneliness. They’ve created a dramatic mood that is played consistently all through-out the film. Okay, I might sound idiotic saying that, but the truth is only few film does it faithfully. At some point, commonly there is always some point of heightened tension of what is going to happen. In the case of April Snow, there no such tolerated tension, even though the moment may call for it. The film does not indulge itself in such conventionality.
A case in point is where both the lead characters discover that their respective spouses had an affair. They checked the messages, and even watched a video of their respective spouses cuddling. With this, there were no shots that signal this kind of vital information such as jerky movements. The same degree of the shot’s gracefulness is the same as the previous shots. The score overlaid is also mellow and never piercing. In convention, at moments like this, we usually get a thrilling and hard beat music. Another is a sensual moment. There are no shots that signal their active libido. The camera, together with the characters, just performs its duty unhurried.
As I come to inspect the film again after a few months of viewing, I recognize the style and somehow appreciate it. The pacing of the dialogue is delicate. For instance, In-su interrupts, “Excuse Me”. It takes a while before Seo-Yong replies. It’s like she has to think of something to say. This kind of pacing happens almost all the time in the film. I thought it was unbearable, because of the way the narrative embodies banality.Then I realize it’s just a different of subtle presentation of love affair, that tones down its taste. Better get used to it to feel the film.
A little research educated me that this film was highly anticipated for its release. Bae Yong-jun was considered a famous actor across Asia, in his Winter Sonata. Son Ye Jin was already a veteran actor, by then, having A Moment to Remember in her resume. Their names played well in marketing, although the film didn’t really broke Blockbuster hits. (I wonder where is Bae Yong-jun in his career. He doesn’t act on films lately, unlike Son Ye Jin who has already made about a dozen. I know this isn’t part of the review, but if you happen to get the hands of Son Ye Jin’s Spellbound you should definitely watch it. It has a one of a kind genre: supernatural horror romance.)
Certainly, you don’t watch the film to enjoy, because you’d really get none. For one, the film is just plain simple. There’s nothing wrong with that, except that simplicity that does not carry any elegance isn’t necessarily a good catch for mass viewers.
As I remember it, the film gets boring at times. I wouldn’t say that staying for the rest of the film is rewarding, but if you happen to watch it, I guess you direct your attention to its style and not its content, but who knows maybe you’d enjoy watching its style at the same time.