(Reel Asian Film Festival 2019) : GYOPO (South Korea/Canada 2019)

Several interweaving stories about an eclectic mix of English speaking Korean expats living in Seoul.

GYOPOS is abut gyopos.  A “gyopo” is someone of Korean descent who has been raised abroad.  The film opens impressively in black and white, probably because director Lee draws his inspiration from Jacques Tati’s black and white comedies like PLAYTIME.  Samuel Kiehoon Lee’s first feature tells the intimate stories of gyopos who have made a journey to Korea, only to find themselves outsiders in the country that gave birth to their parents. 

 

 Lee weaves together vignettes from a diverse band of well-educated 20 and 30-somethings as they get drunk, laugh, fall in love, and get into fistfights over a 24-hour period in Seoul.  sounds better than it is!  Instead of nuance, heart, humour, and snark, Gyopo’s portrait of the gyopo experience is misguided, non-directional confusing and eventually disorienting.  

 

Lee could have down a much better job with fewer characters and concentrate n maybe just one or two and tacked their passage of coming-of-age.  Lee shows potential but it is wasted potential in the case of this film.

Trailer: https://vimeo.com/282166133

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