South Korea has some of the best, most interesting movies in the world. Do you like revenge films? Then check out the recent (very R rated) “I Saw the Devil”. Do you like monster movies? Then check out “The Host”. Horror films? “A Tale of Two Sisters”. Anything by Park Chan-Wook is definitely recommended as well, especially his revenge trilogy. The Dallas International Film Festival gave a new South Korean film its world premiere, and it is probably the most widely commercial and accessible film that has come out of the country yet: “Let Me Out”. American audiences could eat this one up, if they seek it out.
Mu-young is a college senior, and a film student who has been studying movies dutifully for the past four years. He knows all the greats and because of his education, is more or less a film snob. When the time comes for him to actually direct his senior film, he refuses to do so unless he can use 35mm film. Otherwise it’s just not a film. He wants to write a screenplay like Christopher Nolan, and knows that Nolan drank red wine while writing “Inception”. He does the same. The only problem is, Mu-young has no idea how to actually MAKE a movie.
It’s a good thing Mu-young is surrounded by other film students eager to help him with his project. He quickly decides on a zombie screenplay, casts the movie, and starts production. The first time director sits in his director’s chair and surveys the scene in front of him on the first day of shooting, and has a look on his face like he can’t believe he is actually directing.
The film within a film is about zombies, but “Let Me Out” is a love letter to filmmaking. It validates anyone who has ever made a film and fought with their cameraman. It validates everyone who has walked onto set every day with a new disaster to overcome. It validates the people who want to make movies because it’s what they love, and then it becomes a daily challenge when they actually do it.
“Let Me Out” is full of fun references to common American movies; the characters even crack a joke about the movie’s own title, and the obvious similarities to “Let Me In”. The humor is spot on, and culturally diverse enough for audiences around the world to enjoy. In keeping with American recognizability, the film’s opening credits scene is even the same animation style as A-Ha’s classic 80’s video “Take On Me”.
“Let Me Out” was co-directed by Chang-rae Kim and Soh Jae who are actual film school professors in their day jobs. During their Q&A after the world premiere, they talked about how one of their biggest concerns was making a movie that would turn out better than their students’. This only proves that whether it be a first time director or a novice, they are still worried about how their film is going to be received.
For anyone who is tired of the same old Hollywood blockbusters with the same characters, the same explosions, the same tired romance plotlines, foreign film is where it’s at. “Let Me Out” is humorous, loveable, and should be getting a wider release sometime later this year. Since it hasn’t even had its premiere in South Korea yet, distribution plans are still unkown. I will keep you posted.