NYAFF 2005: Green Chair.

Posted by on

Shim Ji-ho as Hyeon"Green Chair" is billed as a racy forbidden romance between an older woman and an underage boy, and it is. Sort of. Director Park Cheol-Su doesn’t follow the narrative path we’d expect (or hope for?) in the story of divorced 32-year-old Mun-hee (Suh Jung, of "The Isle") and 19-year-old Hyeon (newcomer Shim Ji-ho) (and yes, the fact that the age of consent in Korea is 20 does take a little edge off the story) — the film starts off in medias res, after the meet-cute (over a CD in a music store, as we eventually glimpse in sparse flashbacks), the initial affair and the pair’s discovery. Mun-hee has been jailed for her taste for squab, if you will, and we see her, just released, greeted by a swarm of reporters, and, unexpectedly, Hyeon, who’s come to pick her up despite the fact that he doesn’t quite have his drivers license yet.

Mun-hee obviously didn’t expect to see Hyeon again, and the two, after some conversational awkwardness, abscond to a hotel for several sessions of nicely lit, imaginative sex. After that, she tries to leave him, but he pursues her to her friend’s house where they settle in to tentatively flesh out a relationship. We garner from Mun-hee’s insecurities that she had never even hoped Hyeon wanted something more permanent or emotionally involved, and now that he seems to, she’s torn, terrified and vulnerable.

If we were given more insight into Mun-hee’s past, Hyeon’s love for her and patient breaking down of her barriers might be more poignant. But, left only with the fact that she was unhappily married, lonely, and sad, it’s hard to see her erratic behavior throughout the film as caused by past trauma, and easier to just chalk it up to her being a hysterics-prone, schizophrenic bitch queen. Suh Jung has a wonderfully brittle edge to her beauty, but that doesn’t make many of her character’s actions (which include attacking her best friend based on a dream she had and throwing Hyeon’s phone out of the window) at all explicable.

Hyeon is no less of a cypher, a baby-faced, goofy, food-adoring extrovert who’s happy to be objectified by the women in the film as well as the camera (in a refreshing change of pace, we get to ogle the nude Shim Ji-ho far more than his co-star). We get a hint of unhappiness in his past, too, but it’s not until the film’s forced, didactic conclusion that his role really becomes clear.

Mun-hee and Hyeon hold a dinner party, inviting everyone involved in their lives, including their parents, Mun-hee’s ex-husband, the policeman who questioned them both, and a younger girl who’s been pursuing Hyeon. Each of these parties voices their concern about the couple directly to the camera, and each represents some aspect of constrictive traditional Korean society that the couple shrugs off, emerging triumphant, having won everyone’s support. Hyeon faces down Mun-hee’s chauvinistic ex, in the process revealing himself as a sort of idealized feminist construction of a lover  — young, virile, sensitive, gentle, protective, adoring of Mun-hee when she "doesn’t try to look younger," eager to commit, and a great cook. Hyeon might be intended as wistful template for a new generation of Korean men  — unfortunately, he never comes across as an actual human being.


+ NYAFF: Hana & Alice.
+ NYAFF: Three…Extremes
+ NYAFF: Princess Raccoon


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.