This unsettling Asian triptych features three supernatural examinations of the afterlife from three stylish directors. From Korea comes “Memories,” a creepy ghost story about a husband (Kim Hye-su) worrying about what has happened to his wife (Jung Bo Seok), imagining her in various horrific scenarios. Meanwhile, we see her wandering around the city with amnesia trying to get home. When she gets there, we get two major twists. Colorful and atmospheric, director Kim Ji-Woon keeps us guessing right to the end, then turns the knife one more time, so to speak.
Thailand’s entry, “The Wheel,” is steeped in historic superstition, centered on the jealousies between two sets of performers in a small riverside village. The live-dancers take advantage of the death of the local puppet master to move up the artistic chain … ignoring his warnings that his puppets are cursed. Bad move. Director Nonzee Nimibutr (“Nang Nak”) uses his lurid, lush style to great effect, drenching the film in water, fire, blood and sweat as these characters struggle with life, love, envy and death.
And finally, the Hong Kong entry is titled “Going Home” and centers on a cop (Eric Chi Wai Tsang) who moves with his small son into a lowly housing estate. When the son disappears, the cop runs across a strange neighbor (Leon Lai) caring for his dead wife (Eugenia Yuan), who he’s sure is going to revive any day now. This is pure gothic horror–real-life creepiness mixed with supernatural mystery, and a brilliant blending of Eastern mysticism and Western narrative. Christopher Doyle’s cinematography is amazing (of course), and the editing is fiendishly clever.
Taken all together, these three short films are an excellent Asian-style creepfest. The profoundly foreign storytelling style makes them quite memorable. All three filmmakers seem to indulge themselves just a bit, echoing scenes a bit too often (in case we didn’t get it the first time perhaps?), but never mind, these are gifted artists whose work deserves to be seen.