Stars: Kim Ho-yeon, Owhoo and Zea Yu-bin
|This film was an official selection at Phoenix FearCon IV in Tempe in 2011. Here's an index to my reviews of 2011 films.|
It starts relatively simply, with Chang-soo taping up missing posters wherever he can because he wants to find his wife. He does seem a little strange, not merely because he's overly careful with the green duct tape he uses instead of the usual glue. Then again, the lady who's printed 10,000 copies of the poster for him for free, is a little strange too. Her excuse is that she's clearly head over heels for this man, but both of them are painfully nervous. Owhoo is so nervous that I wondered if he isn't even an actor at all, given that searching for his name only brings up Scrabble sites and, from what I can gather from Korean pages, this is his only credit. Perhaps he was an amateur cast for his demeanour, as we'll soon come to realise a lot of why he's the way he is and it's rather appropriate. For a while we wonder how this odd lady, surely the Ma'am of the title, is going to connect with Chang-soo, given that he's married and driven to find his wife, but then we see a photo of her inside that's been torn in half so only she's visible. We have a story.
I wish I knew more about the background to Ma'am's Copy Shop, because it feels like there's something of note behind it, both as far as the development of the story and the film itself. ZiZak's involvement in a few features suggests that he ought to have had access to highly professional actors, but he clearly went for an awkward amateur feel instead, perhaps to capture the nervousness of his characters before letting us in on their background. Certainly the crew seems to be more than capable, especially the editing from Um Yun-joo and the deceptively natural cinematography of Kim Joo-young. Yet the cast don't match that, from the almost but not quite endearing nature of Chang-soo to the overdone selfishness of a couple of Ma'am's prominent customers. It's possible that this plays better through subtitles to an English audience than it would to Koreans, but it was the oddity of the piece as much as the gradually growing irony of its script that has stayed with me.
Ma'am's Copy Shop can be watched for free at IMDb.