나를 잊지 말아요 aka Remember O Goddess (2012)

Description (from rememberogoddess.com):
In the middle of the night, a man reports the disappearance of himself to the police office. He has lost his memory. He can only remember from the moment he found himself left alone in an apartment. He tries to find any clue as to who he might be, but nothing comes out. When he plucks up the courage to go out, he meets a girl at a convenience store, who he thinks might know him. Instantly she becomes his only hope and joy, but when he returns, she has disappeared. Then his quest to find someone who remembers him becomes greater than his need for his own memories. Will he be able to reconnect with a lost love?

Major Cast:
Jungtae Kim as Lost

Special Features:
None (Online Screener)

Written and Directed by Yoon Jung Lee

When I am contacted to review a movie, it is usually by the director, sometimes by a producer, and occasionally by an actor, but with 나를 잊지 말아요 aka REMEMBER O GODDESS, I was contacted by one of the Kickstarter backers of the film.  This was a first for me, but seemingly very fitting for ROG, as it seems to have quite a few “firsts” associated with it.  According to the official site, ROG is “Korea’s first globally crowd-funded film.”  It is also a low-budget film with big-budget talent; Jungtae Kim is a well-known Korean actor who took the role because of his love of the script, A-Ra Choi (one of the other actors) is a “top model in the fashion scene in Seoul,” one of the producers also worked on I’M A CYBORG BUT THAT’S OK (by Chan-wook Park), and that producer and the editor both worked on Joon-ho Bong’s MOTHER.  ROG is a film with very big-budget talents working on a small budget (their Kickstarter campaign funded just over $32,000) funded by film fans from all over the world.

Lost reports a missing person: himself.
Lost reports a missing person: himself.

The film that I have to review is the first 25 minutes of ROG, but it works very well as a short in its own rite.  We are introduced to Lost, as he wanders the streets, eventually finding his way to a police station to report a missing person: himself.  He has lost his memories, and his life (as he knows it) started just a few days ago, as he pulled broken glass from his foot in what is apparently his apartment.  The rest of the short he spends trying to remember himself, and more importantly trying to find someone else who remembers him.  The plot of ROG hooked me right away; as soon as Lost defined his relationship with the person he reported missing as “self,” I was intrigued and drawn in.  The next twenty minutes of him attempting to find out who he was built some mystery and suspense, and though the end of the short felt like it could stand on its own it also really made me want to see the finished feature.

When I slice my foot open, I also reach for Teddy Bear brand bandages.
When I slice my foot open, I also reach for Teddy Bear brand bandages.

Just as the cast and crew are big-budget talent, the production quality follows suit.  The movie is shot in crisp HD, and the cinematography was quite beautiful.  There was a lot of thought put into the shots, both in the visual compositions (there are a lot of nice angular bits that are very optically pleasing) and in the meanings behind them.  For example: a lot of the shots are through windows looking in on Lost, as I’m sure it would feel to him he is a stranger looking in on a life he does not know.  Also, they throw in a Snorri-Cam shot, one of my favorite visual tricks and a great way to get directly into a character’s head.  Along with the visuals, the audio production is also quite strong.  The dialogue and other sounds are all well recorded and easy to hear (not that it matters for me since I don’t speak Korean); the music was ok but overall kind of forgettable, there was never anything that really made me take any notice but it didn’t get in the way of the film either.

One of the more striking "angular" shots
One of the more striking “angular” shots

One of the biggest strengths of ROG is its star, Jungtae Kim.  He has a very strong talent to portray a ton of very real emotion through just a facial expression.  It is obvious from when he first enters the police station that he is very confused, just as his want to be remembered by the convenience store clerk is also plastered all over his face for all to see.  He is a serious talent, and ROG (at least in its short form) is truly carried by his performance.

Overall, I really enjoyed ROG.  While it is very strong in the short form it currently takes, I am really (REALLY) looking forward to seeing the final version of it.  Hopefully the filmmakers will send me a screener once it’s done so that I can review the full film and compare the emotions built in the short to what I hope will crescendo in the feature.  This is a very strong short film, and if it continues on the path it has laid out so far in the first 25 minutes, it will be a very powerful film that I’m sure people will take notice of, globally.

Overall 8 / 10

ROG is not on the IMDb

ROG is not for sale, but you can watch the short here: http://www.rememberogoddess.com/movie/

ROG site: http://www.rememberogoddess.com

Remember O Goddess (2012)
Remember O Goddess (2012)
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