Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
KAFFNY ’16: Princess Eun Hwa (short)
is the sort of Joseon princess Kurt Vonnegut might have written about—and the
Russian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Thai princesses too. She seems to be shifting in
time and space, from era to era. However, her secret is only too terrestrial
and tragic. Somehow, her mysterious uncle holds the key to her fate in Dave
Zhang’s short film Princess Eun Hwa,
which screens during KAFFNY Third Culture Cinema 2016.
Princess Eun Hwa adores her uncle, but he always leaves after delivering her
medicine. The kingdom appears to be restive, but there is always a brave prince
willing to escort her through the chaos in search of her beloved father-figure.
However, as soon as she kisses her champion, she is suddenly whisked away to
another historical realm. This process continues through most of Asia and the
empires of classical antiquity. Whenever the Princess tries to slow down the
cosmic cycle, she incurs her uncle’s wrath.
there is something sinister going on behind the scenes, but to reveal it would
be spoilerish (so do not read the film’s synopsis on the KAFFNY website).
However, it directly pertains to grave contemporary issues that demand greater
media attention, so covering the film presents quite a quandary. If you haven’t
guessed the twist yet, a cold viewing will leave you deeply unsettled, but
having that sort of strong, honest reaction to a film is a good thing.
a thirty-nine-minute short, Princess Eun
Hwa is quite a technical achievement, carefully crafting at least a dozen
historical eras. However, the real gut punch comes from the poignancy of Song
Lee Song’s achingly naïve and vulnerable performance as the Princess. Likewise,
there is remarkable subtlety and nuance to Kang Ju Yeon’s turn as her
protective maid Snow, especially when considered in retrospect.
Eun Hwa is exactly the sort of
short film that compellingly demonstrates why short films deserve more critical
and media attention. You will be hard pressed to find a feature released in
multiplexes this year that keeps gnawing on your subconscious for as long as
this short drama does. Very highly recommended, Princess Eun Hwa is a worthy selection and terrific way to start
the festival as part of a free shorts program at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. Readers can also use the catchy promo code "jbspins15" for 15% off other tickets, including After Spring, which screens along with Kiyun Sung’s ripping good short film The Destined King later this coming Saturday (10/15).
Labels: KAFFNY '16, Short Films