STATELESS THINGS (Kim Kyung-mook, South Korea). 115 minutes. Subtitled. Screens Wednesday (November 7), 9:15 pm, Innis.
TORONTO REEL ASIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL from Tuesday (November 6) to November 11 in Toronto; November 16 and 17 in Richmond Hill. Various venues. $10-$20. See Indie & Rep Film, page 108. reelasian.com. Rating: NNN
Young Korean filmmaker Kim Kyung-mook shows lots of promise in his hypnotic third feature, a dreamlike examination of two men on the margins of Seoul society.
Joon (Paul Lee) is an illegal immigrant from North Korea who meets the sullen Soonhee (Kim Sae-byuk) while they're both working at a gas station. Running away from their abusive boss, they form an unlikely friendship illustrated in a fascinating manner with Google Maps technology.
In a separate narrative, the directionless young Hyun (Yeom Hyun-joon) finds himself turning tricks and rebelling against his sugar daddy (Lim Hyung-kook). Eventually, Joon and Hyun's stories intersect, making us rethink what's come before.
Kim lets his images accrue weight over time, and he employs some bold stylistic touches. But a couple of scenes feel superfluous, and adding some humour might have broken up the film's slow, steady pace.