Song Il-gon’s Feathers in the Wind: delicate and moving

So-yeon with her peacock feather
So-yeon with her peacock feather

The second Song Il-gon screening this month lived up to my high expectations. Feathers in the Wind has many similarities Song Il-gon’s beautiful debut Flower Island but still contains plenty that provokes thought in its own right. Like Flower Island, the destination is a southern island – this time the real island of Udo off the east coast of Jejudo – which again is inhabited by a woman who brings healing – in this case someone who runs an isolated motel. Film-maker Jang Hyun-seong is headed there to keep an appointment he made with his former lover ten years ago, not knowing whether she will be there or not, but not really needing to know.

Hyun-seong remembers his past love and tries to get over his writer's block on Udo
Hyun-seong remembers his past love and tries to get over his writer's block on Udo

There are fewer quirks than Flower Island, the main mysteries being why there’s a peacock wondering around windy beach which provides the feathers for So-yeon’s hair, why So-yeon’s imaginary but beautiful tango partner is female, and why So-yeon’s uncle was suddenly abandoned by his wife. Despite the mysteries, the work is more straightforward than but just as beautiful as Flower Island, whether visually, aurally or emotionally.

An imaginary tango for two
An imaginary tango for two

In fact the loose ends are tied up almost too well. I thought the contents of the letter from Hyun-seong’s former lover, left in the piano, were going to remain undisclosed. But almost as an afterthought we get to hear why So-yeon couldn’t keep her promise. We could equally well have been left to guess. Whatever, this is a touching film, almost too short at 70 minutes, though originally it was intended to be only 30 minutes long. Shame it’s virtually impossible to get on DVD now.

Song Il-gon (송일곤): Feathers in the Wind (깃) (2004) SterneSterneSterneSterneSterne

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