Milky Way Liberation Front

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** (Two stars)
The time-honored gambit of an artist overcoming writer’s block with metanarrative cutesiness finds an uninspiring outlet in Yoon Seongho’s digital feature, which has cleverness on its side but pace stoutly against it. The gist: A baby-faced Korean filmmaker (Lim Ji-gyu) flogs his short at a film festival (hey!), mopes over an ex-girlfriend and tries to boost himself up the cinema food chain into features. Life then imitates art: When he brainstorms about an aphasic hero, he himself goes suddenly mute. A desultory batch of high jinks later (experiments in ventriloquism and an excruciating, one-way audience talk-back), and his voice and mojo both return. Yoon does capture the mix of hype and passivity exhibited by a talent on the cusp—at the festival, the protagonist must wait for things to coalesce around him, since his fate is no longer in his hands. But in re-creating that sense of endlessly hopeful anticipation, the film visits the hero’s torture on the audience. That’s the sort of meta-result that’s bad for everyone.—Helen Shaw, Theater writer

[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.]

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