It's FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT!!
Check out our post we reviewed the movie AGE OF SHADOWS.
This Friday we're looking at the film THE TABLE. So curl up on the couch, grab some popcorn and wine and enjoy our review - so you can immediately go watch the movie afterwards.
A little background on the movie before we get started with the review. This film is a 2016 film written and directed Kim Jong Kwan. Kim Jong Kwan participated as a writer and director in the Netflix short series Persona.
The Table was clearly written around the four POWERHOUSE actresses that are featured in the film. The actresses are Jung Yoo Mi, Jung Eun Chae, Han Ye Ri and Im Soo Jung. This indie film is a little over an hour long and really could be more like a mini series with 4 episodes. The film is shot with each actress as the main character in the "mini episode" that they are in, with the story focusing on them for the time that they are on screen. The entire film takes place around a single table in a coffee shop in the span of a couple days. A single table is "witness" to the conversations and relationships of these 4 actresses, acting as almost another character in the film itself.
The relationships and even stages of where each actress was in their relationship is what stood out in this movie. The cinematography helped shape and portray these relationships, all while being unique to each pairing and even between the pairings arriving and leaving the table. One big thing that was noticeable in the drama was how the table came into play and even the background setting of the coffeeshop, the coffeeshop sort of "hugged" each relationship that was unfolding at the table both literally and figuratively.
The film opens up with a microscopic view of a glass on said table which pans out to reveal the glass and is quickly picked up by the coffee house employee. We see shots of the coffee house scenery and furniture.
The first relationship we encounter in the film is Jung Yoo Mi and a man sitting at the table. As the scene goes on, you discover that the man is a former boyfriend and they have just connected again and met up for coffee. The camera starts out close up, having the camera close to each of the actor's face as they talk. This conveys that both of the characters in the scene want to be there and are interested in the conversation.
Even though the scene is a little pale, it does still carry warm but I think the paleness is foreshadowing what will happen in the scene.
As the scene continues, Jung Yoo Mi and the audience realize why the male (former flame) really wanted to meet up. As the realization comes about in the scene, the camera pans away from the faces and couple slightly. By the end of the scene, it shows the pairing as a whole on screen, with space in between. The cinematography conveys the woman's emotions in the scene.
The second relationship that happens is Jung Eun Chae who is also sitting with a man. This relationship also starts with closeups in the cinematography. What is different is that the scene almost entirely stays that way in this scene.
I think this conveys shyness or the desire to say something, again displaying the feelings of the woman in the scene. Jung Eun Chae clearly is uncomfortable and the camera being that close gives a claustrophic feeling to the scene. This scene is again a reconnection but a reconnection with a man that she has only met a couple of times and somehow developed affection for him. A reconnection of another sort and that has a different ending.
All of these scenes at the table are framed by scenes of the coffee shot. Shots of the table being cleaned off. Tea slowly seeping into water to convey the change from day to night. Portraits and pictures on the wall. Bubbling coffee in a coffeepot and the owner reading at the counter. The tiny vase on the table where all the scenes take place. Each relationship opens and closes with scenes from this coffee shop, sort of making the audience another guest at the coffee shop.
The third pair is Han Ye Ri and a woman. The lighting is misleading in this scene because you think warmth and happiness but then you realize the conversation and what is transpiring in the scene. It is interesting because you never get both women in the same shot. Again this conveys Han Ye Ri's feelings because she wants the entire exchange to be devoid of emotions and to remain distant. It conveys more of a business transaction and a coldness which is exactly what this scene is.
The last pairing of the film is Im Soo Jung and a man. It is night now so there is warmth in the light but this scene is also shot almost entirely through the window. This creates a "barrier" between the man and the female which I interpret as an obstacle or hardship that they will have to encounter. This comes in the form of a question and then ultimately a goodbye which I think both parties don't want to answer or say that goodbye. Even when the couple transitions outside, the scene is still shot through the window, with the camera being inside the coffee shop.
Overall, The Table is a slice of life indie film, a short peek into the lives and relationships of four women. A short peek to what is going on their life. At times the audience really feels like the table. The table experiences these instances all the time, with all its patrons. The film is REALLY written from the perspective of the table! The table and audience are witness to these four conversations and the insecurities these women display in these conversations. All while sitting in this coffee shop at THE TABLE.
THE TABLE - 8 OUT OF 10 FROM ME