In a suburban apartment on the hottest day of the century, we find the women fanning and chatting in one spot and the men drinking and scratching in another. Soon violence erupts as a ... See full summary »
In a suburban apartment on the hottest day of the century, we find the women fanning and chatting in one spot and the men drinking and scratching in another. Soon violence erupts as a husband chases his abused wife into the open. Everyone has seen this before and the men ignore the battering, but today in the heat the women rise up in anger against the wife-beater, who dies on the way to the hospital. As the police arrive, ten women flee to the roof. All of Korea watches on TV as they hold their position for four days and nights, until the situation is resolved in the most unlikely way... Written by
The film starts out by making it clear that the country (Korea) is in the middle of a record-setting heat wave, and then sets up the various characters. The common thread is that the men are all lazy and/or abusive, while the women are abused sexually, physically, and emotionally, and in general are treated as second class citizens.
A group of women have an informal women's club (although the "president" of the club takes her job very seriously), and are eating watermelon outside when a man drags his wife out into the street. The couple are fighting, although it's the wife who is getting beaten up. The women's club members go after the husband, and other men join the rapidly growing fight. And in the aftermath of this fight most of the women end up on the roof of a building to escape the police.
I won't reveal much more, except that there is also a pair of bumbling thieves trying to rob an apartment in the same building, and they are trapped once the police surround the area. They might remind you of the robbers in "Home Alone," and they are definitely in the film for comic relief.
But really the whole film is far more of a comedy that one might expect since domestic abuse is the main topic. In fact, it's more like a comedy with occasional "drama relief." The acting is in keeping with this, seeming cartoon-like.
This didn't work for me. I rarely was able to laugh at the comedy, and the drama wasn't quite good enough or prevalent enough to keep me interested. The best thing I can say is that the production values were good, with crane shots and the like.
I guess I can *also* say that the rest of the audience all seemed to appreciate the comedy far better than I, and in fact I have rated the film maybe half a star higher than I would have based purely on my own reaction. Furthermore, this film won the top prize (the Golden Maile) at the 1996 Hawaii International Film Festival.
Seen on 11/1/2002 at the 2002 Hawaii International Film Festival, where this was part of the Golden Maile Korean Retrospective.
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