odd moment in film

I caught a couple of movies last night at filmfest, a good doco/recreation on Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and the other, a re-mastering by Korean director, Bong Joon-ho of his 2009 movie, Mother. It turns out that it was originally in colour however the director has re-mastered it in black and white and it looks absolutely stunning. I didn’t see the original version but loved the look of the new version; the framing and cinematography looked amazing. The story too, was strong, emotional and well played.

However there was an odd moment at the start of the film. The opening scene is of the main character walking across a field, stopping, then breaking into a dance. There is no context at this point, that comes later, and a chunk of the audience burst into laughter. I found the reaction jarring and couldn’t perceive any humour, and as we discovered later, there was no humour in that moment. I’ve come across this elsewhere too, moreso for non english, or culturally diverse movies. I sometimes wonder if it’s some sort of audience reaction to the unfamiliar, removed from the expectation of western devices and approaches.

[spoiler] I recall seeing The Truman Show many years ago and experiencing a similar sort of thing. Jim Carey’s character had grown up in a reality TV show but didn’t know it wasn’t real.  There’s a scene toward the end of the movie as he’s beginning to realise that his world may not actually be real and he’s on a boat sailing to the horizon. The boat reaches it, and cracks a hole in the “sky” – the sky being the painted wall of the set. I burst into tears every time I watch it as it’s a moment of truth for Carey’s character, the proof that his world is not real. However the first time I saw it in the cinema, the audience laughed and found it hilarious. That reaction too felt wrong and jarring.

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