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Comments on "The ABC of ROFFEKE" Screenings (September 2015 at iHub)

I liked all the films especially the one for Superman [“This is Joe”] and the last one which was longer [“ Frontman ”]. I look forward to at...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Interview: YJ Kim - writer/director of Chemical

ROFFEKE: What inspired you to write "Chemical?"

YJ KIM: Everyone needs a second chance in their life since we keep making mistakes unconsciously and continuously. The man in the film is me; he wants to have a second chance from the mistakes he has made so far in his life. The chemical in the film is a fantasy-like symbol of that second chance, as the man tries to re-start the relationship with the woman and in the end, the woman reacts with a smile, even though nothing can be changed for them and I would like to label this chemical as ‘hope’ or ‘second chance’.


ROFFEKE: What were the high points and low points of directing the film?

YJ KIM: High point: Dancing scene is the most powerful & imaginative scene from this film as the man and woman get over their trauma via dancing, which is what I love to show off to audiences.
Low points: I would have liked more balance between both the man's and woman’s stories, however, unfortunately, I could not do this due to time limitation and low budget.

ROFFEKE: "Sofia so far" by Goodnight Radio is such a good fit for the crazy dancing scene! What made you pick this particular song out of many other possible songs?

YJ KIM: "Sofia so far" is my favorite rock music song due to the amazing melody line, modern synth sound, powerful beat and rough voice. Thus, I always wanted to put this song in the most important moment of my life. As mentioned, the man in the film is me and the dancing scene is the most crucial moment for his second chance and there was no hesitation for me to put this awesome song in this film.

(ROFFEKE note: "Sofia so far" is part of the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning short film "Curfew")



ROFFEKE: Any advice for aspiring writer-directors?

YJ KIM: Making films is not easy. You could be depressed and stressed because of low budget, lack of inspiration and staff management etc. and so, taking a break is essential as much as diligence for making the film. A deep and good break will make you say ‘Shit, I need to make my next film because I can be better than that!’

ROFFEKE: Your favorite female directors?

YJ KIM: Zoe R. Cassavetes (It is such a pity that one cannot find even a single work of hers in South Korea as she is the best, no matter of male or female)

You can watch "Chemical" on the ROFFEKE OFFICIAL SELECTION channel, at 9.45pm Kenyan time.


Read Joseph Ochieng's review of "Chemical" here

Review: Chemical

Review by Joseph Ochieng
Director: YJ Kim
Actors: Eunmin Kho, YJ Kim, Juhyun Son

The narrative is about a jilted lover seeking reunion with his ex-girlfriend. The Implied silence at the beginning of the film creates suspense and enhances the mood. A blank screen with the words of two characters having a conversation stirs questions in the viewer’s mind. Are they insurgents, are they chemical doctors, and are they scientists? After a few seconds, the two mates are revealed talking matters love over a drink.

Costume design matches with the initial moments of the story. The silent conversation on a blank screen superimposes the dark clothing of the characters when we meet them for the first time. The plot twists and we realize that the two friends are involved in a discussion about love, its intricacies, and characteristics. How the director wields his creativity to relay the message is strategic. The film pace changes from slow at the beginning to a quick montage in the middle revealing flashback sequence and the thoughts of the characters.

Transition to the significant events in the story is primarily enhanced by fading to black. In the second part, Eunmin is introduced. Her boyfriend calls her, and she agrees to meet him. During the date, the man pours the chemical in Eunmin’s drink. The pace increases again when Eunmin’s thoughts play before her eyes, in a fast montage. The visual effects help enhance the mood of the bar scene. The reality is contrasted with Eunmin’s thought through color correction. The director has succeeded in getting his audience glued to “Chemical” from the point of hitting the “play” to the final minutes. The fading to blank screens enhance act breaks, giving the viewer a moment to internalize the previous acts, and prepare for the next events. However, the fact that dialog propels the plot is the main undoing of “Chemical.” Subtlety and suspense could still be achieved through the thought-provoking actions in the flashback sequences.