Toronto After Dark – Doomsday Book – Kim Jee-woon & Yim Pil-sung

The first screening of Sunday was an engaging and enjoyable Korean anthology film that focuses on three different ways the world will meet its end, at its core are messages of hope, joy, laughter, love and yes, a little bit of fear.

It also seems to be a big believer in the concept of big things have small beginnings.

Each of the tales is epic in its backdrop but instead focuses on the smaller more intimate aspects of each tale, one telling a story of a zombie outbreak set against a love story and Korean BBQ.

Another is a tale of transcendence as a robot not only achieves a measure of human sentience but also achieves enlightenment to the chagrin of its parent company but to the appreciation of his fellow Buddhist monks.

The final tale features the imminent impact of an astronomical body caused by a little girl, a website and online shopping.

Each of the films have different tones, but all have first-rate production values, story and are infused with characters you care about.

Unlike most anthology films there isn’t a wrap around tale tying them all together, one story is told and we move on, smoothly, to the next.

The final film, Birthday, is by far the most entertaining, intercutting between the poor girl and her family and some highly enjoyable news reports and home shopping, which all starts to come apart as the destruction of the plane seems nigh.

The zombie feature, while arguably the weakest of the trio still entertains because of the lead, you just feel so bad for him, cleaning up after his family and just wanting to have a relationship with this wonderful girl he has met and fallen in love with, and even being undead doesn’t seem to stop them.

The middle tale, Heavenly Creature is a nicely constructed tale on what it is to be human, are we simply defined by our desires and compulsions or are we more… Is it so hard to believe that a robot who obtains sentience and enlighten t could be in fact the reincarnated Buddha? And isn’t self-sacrifice for the betterment of all the ultimate in selfless actions, or as it hints at the end of the tale only a precursor for a bigger movement to come?

So far it’s been the titles I’ve been least sure of that have delighted me the most in this festival and I haven’t walked away disappointed or upset once, and this one was a nice surprise despite the terrible trailer used to promote it.

Nice work Mr. Lopez and company, keep it up!


Find more Doomsday Book here, on Facebook, on Twitter and at their official site.

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