Sky Blue (2003, South Korea)

When a few weeks ago I was looking through a list of cyberpunk movies at CyebrPunkReview.com from 2007 I realized that I have seen more than half of them already. But that leaves plenty more to check out. The first one on the list I managed to hunt down was originally titled Wonderful Days or if you believe the cover Sky Blue.

I really liked it, although it was a strange feeling to watch a dubbed movie for the first time after a long hiatus. Growing up in Hungary, where almost all movies were dubbed, particularly the ones shows on TV, I was used to watching non-Hungarian speaking perfect Hungarian throughout my child and teenhood and didn’t think much of it. Since I moved to the US I don’t recall seeing anything dubbed. As far as I remember this is the first movie I have ever watched that was dubbed into English from another language, in this case Korean. In my mind anime is so much associated with far east culture, that this just felt wrong.

Nevertheless I got absorbed into the story and the visuals fast enough that I stopped noticing the disappearance of the language barrier. The script contained a lot of elements that are in vogue nowadays, but have been to a lesser extent in 2003 when it was made. These include a vast scale environmental disaster on Earth, the assumption of survival of some humans, the intensification of class struggle combined with struggle for resources, huge technological advances, the cult of violence taking over the rule of democracy, the separation of friends/lovers to different sides of the coming war, the longing for a mysterious/mythic land, where everything is alright. But the movie held some surprises too (SPOILERS): the joining forces, the ending that was tragic on the personal level, but optimistic on the societal, the operatic quality of some fight scenes, the saving and integration of classical visual arts into post-modern reality.

Talking only about the story doesn’t cover even half of what I liked the movie. The rest has to go to the visuals. Some directors are great to create intense atmosphere of closed spaces (e.g. as Aronofsky did almost all of Black Swan with internal shots) and others excel at external ones (e.g. Terrence Malick in Days of Heaven). Moon-saeng Kim, the director of this movie, and his team managed to combine these in animation. They created huge constructs that are on the edge of being inside and outside at the same time. And they look fantastic. I like original works, that don’t just recycle visual and verbal cliches. This movie contributed new ideas and pictures to the field of public imagination. That was it biggest value for me.

Blu-Ray @ Amazon.com.

IMDB’s summary:  In the future, after the human civilization ended by war and pollution, only those few people who had the power and technology escaped the disaster. Those people built the last human city of Ecoban. As its energy source is the pollutant, the people of Ecoban plan to destroy the inhabitants of Marr to get more pollutant. Standing against Ecoban is a young man who wants only to clear the skies of the clouds to show the wonderful heavens to the girl he loves.

Trailer:

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