JIFF 2012 COVERAGE – Tree or Wood by Lee Eun-Joo

for desistfilm: Catherine Jessica Beed

Lee Eun-Joo‘s short is a curious attempt to arrange a dichotomy between the transient beauty of nature in all its abstractions and the artificiality of manufactured objects. As a brief dialogue between the lateral abstract images of wood and foliage and the composition of sound, close-up controlled shots of trees in various states move at a rapid pace against the rise and fall in the musical structure. It is somewhat effective thus as a snapshot of decay, texture and transience, demonstrated also with the rising and falling of sound, though the kinetic motions and fascinations with texture come across as childlike and playful rather than profound.

It is shown in brief moments what we as humans use trees for, what wood becomes and the artificial beauty of those materials and objects we create. For example, there is a brief shot of a newly-produced wooden chair in a workshop. It is suggested (and perhaps juxtaposition is the crux of this short) with correspondence between the differing states of trees, the changing understanding of beauty, the natural and the artificial. That there is a kind of enchantment and magnetism in our appreciation of the natural world, and this manifests itself in different ways, in our visual appetites and in the beauty of objects we create from and with inspiration from nature.

It is well known in the art world that trees make for interesting subjects from a visual perspective, and the shots here are wonderful to look at. But despite the many facets of thought that should branch out from viewing, the stance feels almost like it has been seen and noted before. There is little in this film that produces a lingering message, rather it presents moments of fleeting consideration that as a whole don’t amount to much beyond the surface of the image.

Director: Lee Eun-Joo
Screenwriter: Lee Eun-Joo
Cinematography: Lee Eun-Joo
Korea
15 min
Short Film Competition

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