Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, that’s what people say, even south-korean director Jeon Kyu-hwan when his Mozart Town starts: Sara (Sonia Klinge) has just arrived in town, she runs a journal in which she writes her feeling about her new job, giving piano lessons in a city she’ll call Mozart Town. She’s happy, unable to see the loneliness of the people living in the city, men and women lost in it, a place filled with lonely hearts and too many closed eyes.
Il-hwan (Oh Seong-tae) has no feelings for himself, he’s just living his life because he’s still breathing and punching those guys with a debt to pay to his boss. He’s a hitman who manages a nightclub where one of his prostitutes is tired of being constantly harassed by the police. At the same time someone is taking a picture of Il-hwan while he’s walking, a girl named Ji-won (Joo A-rang) who owns a stand where she sells cigarettes, newspapers and food, a little trap where his husband has left her. Meanwhile there’s an African couple struggling for some money, hoping to be soon able to go back home to their son, praying every day for a solution, but their employer has no intention to treat them as human beings. Deok-sang (Park Seung-bae) has no idea of what’s going on, he faces his loneliness by trying to interact with the girl at the stand. Unfortunately for him, the girl has feelings for the mysterious Il-hwang.
Each one of them walks in different direction, but their lives are not parallel lines, they cross each other weaving a plot which flows around the Stand. There’s a princess to save in that castle, a lonely woman who doesn’t stand her own image and seeks a little bit of satisfaction in a hobby bigger than her, but there’s no prince able to stand against the dragon, all of them are facing something which is behind them. Director Jeon Kyu-hwan, with his Town trilogy, explores the thoughts and minds of his characters: he writes it down with his camera, showing more than once what those people are and which their fears are. There’s Ji-won who fears to have the same sad face reflexed in mirrors, there’s Deok-sang fearing to become an old exhausted man, there’s the whore scared of being forever just an object to watch and touch, there’s Il-hwan scared to be overwhelmed by himself.
Kyu-hwan accomplishes his duty, with some ridiculous moments and some funny scenes; he’s good enough to catch the audience attention painting a couple of beautiful shots like a great photographer. Catching the feeling in one frame, catching a way to communicate a sensation, a mission realized by putting his characters on the side and their fears behind them, a few close-up meant to stare at the viewer with the only eyes these people have: their heart. Life goes on, time doesn’t wait for anyone, things happen and the movie title, Mozart Town, reminds us all that the world-famous composer died poor and forgotten by everyone, lonely in his death as much as Kyu-hwan’s characters were in their lives. A good movie, a good director that deserves to have his place in the Korean mainstream, even if he still have to understand how to be fluent and not just be bright.