Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Film review: Antique Bakery (The story of a gay guy with the "demonic charm")

The talented patissier Son Woo has a problem: he hasn't lasted a year in any of his previous jobs. His pastries, which are scrumptious and desired by men and women of all ages, are definitely not the issue.
It's this:
Joo Ji Hoon (Princess Hours and The Devil) and Kim Jae Wook (Coffee Prince) star in this delightful comedy
Basically, Son Woo is so gorgeous that both straight and gay guys fall over themselves for him, hence destroying his professional relationships.
Okay, I want that problem, haha.
Antique Bakery is orginally a Japanese manga, and it has been adapted into a TV series, and in 2008, into this Korean movie.
I've always thought that South Korea tended to be mum about homosexuality in a sweep-it-under-the-carpet kind of way, but in this movie, it's a non-issue—as it should be. I'm hoping it's not just an idealized portrayal of homosexuality in Korea, but rather (or at the least), a reflection of the current generation's view on the matter. (Update: And then I read this.)
One may argue that the appeal of this movie for gay guys is that the fantasy of being admired even by a straight guy* is presented as a reality, and therefore, it is ultimately patronizing. However, I would like to think of it as a means to knock down social constructs, particularly one that limits the concept of long-term commitments to heterosexual relationships.
In Antique Bakery, a gay partnership is not ill-fated for reasons such as family, social acceptance, or religion. You can imagine its future. (It's still however, bugged with stereotypes, e.g., Why is it referred to as "demonic charm" and not "angelic"? Why are pastries dismissed as feminine?)
Beyond the movie's gay arc, however is a larger theme about a man coming into terms with a childhood trauma. (Otherwise known as, how to keep the heterosexual viewers interested, lol.) There are also the beautiful pastries, hot Korean boys, and the high production value, though the extremely fast-paced editing and avant-garde approach to some of the sequences left me perplexed.
Overall, it's a delightful comedy that is sure to tickle you pink! I'm glad Pam recommended this to me.
Part 1 here; the rest are available in YouTube:
Rating: 7/10
*But you know, it does happen, lol.

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