Sunday, 16 October 2011

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Bad Education - FFCF 2011

Part of the Paris Korean Film Festival (FFCF) 2011, we viewed some of the participating short films under its SHORTCUTS section. Every year since 2006, the association 1886 has organized the Festival Franco-Coréen du Film (FFCF) in the Latin Quarter of Paris. FFCF invites all lovers of Korean cinema to come and discover or rediscover the best of Korean film in all its forms: fiction, documentaries, shorts, and classics.

Here, we caught Koh Su-kyung's Bad Education. Born in 1973 in Seoul, Ko Su-kyung has studied film at the University of Han-yang. Before Bad Education, she has directed several short films: Fiction, Action, Reaction, Hot Afternoon, Minbangwe and Diana.

"Bad Education is an ironic comedy, tinged with black humor. Here, it's not just the scenario that makes us laugh but also the ingenious use of original methods of staging and interpretation irresistibly, especially children."

- Commentary by Alban Ravassard

Opinion: B+

Possibly one of the well-established dark humour that wittingly pitted the perplex adulthood against the innocent childhood, Bad Education is a sharp and concise critique of today's youth generation in South Korea (and likewise globally). Director Koh Su-kyung might have showered entertaining dosage of humour right from the start. But it was how she allowed the class of teacher and students to degenerate into darkness helplessly that made an impactful conclusion within our minds.

A teacher, Sung-Hun, now has to take charge of a class in elementary school after a previous teacher committed suicide. He tries to establish good relationship with the children with smiles and humor, but he finds himself kept at a distance from the students. Despite the passion he had first, his faith is now shaken and he is getting into a fix.

Previously unheard of any cast and crew of this short film production, its synopsis did however suck my mind right in upon first sight.

Director Koh Su-kyung made a simple premise and set-up with a new teacher taking over an elementary class in a suburban region of South Korea. Affairs began nice and positive, especially with the frequent close-ups of Sung-Hun's euphoric smiles.

The Mr Nice-Guy-Teacher, whom most of us would identify him as.

Versus a class of four contaminated adolescent minds sitting right across him as Sung-Hun's supposed students. Little did he realise how far away from innocent childhood had the students been deviating towards the adult world of dirty politics and sins.

One spoke of relentless despair and depression, where the best navigation route through life is death itself. Another shared her experience of uploading the private sex video recordings of her parents' love-making online to gain site traffic and eyeballs. One revealed the unorthodox methods of gaining quick cash part-time and another flaunted his American English command and worship of admiration.

These are all very current and real issues plaguing the South Korean upcoming generation, and to a very greater extent the entire Asian community as well. It was through the four students where Koh allowed the audience to take an adult vantage point through the perspective of Sung-Hun with his role as a social educator of our youth constantly shifted balance in volatility.

In a way, it seemed more of Sung-Hun being manipulated by our youth and that brought forth the wild question of which party truly required educating - The adults or the youth. Also raging through our minds were the various educational upbringing methods that we as the adults had to amend and adopt accordingly to the changing traits of the rising generation.

Capitalism seemed to be a likely cause of the today's upbringing of the students, where society really played a massive role as the top influential source of morality and education. Of course, this is open for debate.

Given how even the adults could no longer follow the paths of proper education, the film reached the ironic conclusion of how no adults practice what they preach towards the young ones. It was by no means the fault of any adult, but rather the self-depreciating culture that the adults resided within that made matters absolutely inevitable.

Much in the case of Sung-Hun, his optimism in life was never sufficient for the overwhelming evil sins at work within the society. Is it a disease or is it just us as adults who never truly cared?

You watch this short film and decide.


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