When someone starts to play the music and animals/people are brought to the stage, you’d have the basic elements to start dancing. Jeon Kyu-hwan closes his Town trilogy with Dance Town a story way much more complicated than his former movies and first two chapters Mozart Town and Animal Town.
Ri Jeong-rim (Ra Mi-Ran) lives in North Korea together with his husband, whose able to import forbidden stuff like cosmetics and adult videos from their neighbors in South Korea. One day the worst thing happen and one of their real neighbors told the police what they knew about Ri Jeong-Rim and her husband. There’s only one solution: using all the connections he had to make her wife escape to South Korea in order to live a better life where they would have been soon reunited once she was safe. The bottom of the peninsula looked like a strange place where everything is possible and everyone had a chance to be happy, but Jeong-rim soon discovers that nothing really changed.
She meets several northern Korean living as refugee near the borders of their old homeland, enjoying sports and life together but emptied in the spirit. That’s what Kyu-hwan’s main character perceives, a land where all flows in a different way, but in the same exact direction, a strong accuse to the whole country – from a geographic point of view – in which troubled souls try to escape from a dance they never intended to play. Director Jeon Kyu-hwan improves Dance Town by enlarging the range of nationality of the accused and by joining the two main themes from Animal Town – violence – and Mozart Town – loneliness. What happens in terms of images is the feeling that we’re watching a Lee Chang-dong movie from which all the power has been erased so that it could have been replaced with thought and a moral: violence and loneliness are the parents of pain.
Pain leads to a cruel ending far from being good as the twist in Animal Town, the best of the trilogy, but it works enough and Jeon-kyu delivers the final piece of his own small yet majestic trilogy about people closed in their own walls, barriers and decadent skyscrapers. Lost in the city: this could have easily been an alternative title to a movie interested in showing his puppets in the middle of dirty alleys and large streets in which all of them share a confused look and everyone fails in their purpose of sharing those feelings, except our Ri Jeong-rim, centre of the frame.