Leeds Film Festival 2009: West of Pluto / My Girlfriend is an Agent
After my first successful Film Festival, last year, I was a bit aprehensive about whether this year could match, or even better the quality of screenings I’d previously attended. Like last year, I kicked off my Film Festival experience with a French film, but this time, French-Canadian!
West of Pluto follows the lives of a group of teenagers who have just started a new term at high school. The story makes use of Pluto’s declassification from a planet, to a Trans-Neptunian Object; relating a once prominent feature in our solar system, that has now been downgraded to a just a number, to the lives of several teenagers, who are all struggling to find their identities within the busy social-life of high school. I thought the location of the shoot, set in the early Autumn, was beautiful, and the film was able to capture all the rich colours of Autumn superbly, and made good use of its scenic location.
Later, I saw my second film of that day, My Girlfriend is an Agent. It was a big transition, but luckily I’d come prepared to see a Korean blockbuster! The film focuses Su-Ji, the Girlfriend/Agent in question, and Jae-Jun, her soon to be ex-boyfriend. After three years apart, they meet up again accidentally (in one of the films most hilariously disgusting scenes inside a men’s bathroom), and decide to stay in-touch, but keep up the premise that they live normal lives, with normal jobs. But the truth is, both are now undercover secret agents (working for different agencies). Jae-Jun’s background in computing makes him ideal for the job, yet his lack of suave shows him up whenever he’s in combat; unlike Su-Ji, who is very skilled when it comes to fighting.
What might sound like a Korean adaptation of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (a film which I actually can’t stand), I found the film to be much more like the US TV show Chuck, in which a computer nerd is accidentally integrated with the secrets of the CIA, and then ends up falling for his assigned handler, who is a proper highly trained agent. The film is unbelievably hilarious, and very sweet at times. I really hope this is available on DVD soon, as I know it’s a film that a lot of people would enjoy, but might overlook because of the simplistic title.