The Lady From 406


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

The Lady From 406
"There's a moment where this might be epistolary horror."

Building a creeping dread from slow zooms and their reverse, electronic washes in a landscape of pre-fabricated apartments, the seeming infinite terraces of urban density, homes for the petit-Borges. Grating on the nerves of the lady in 406 is the entry to her home of the slow trickle of smoke, coming from a neighbour's.

She tries tape. Thick gaffer, covering it. She tries tape. Sound system revenge, hand-labelled recordings at high volume. She tries tapping the door, speaking to the resident.

Things escalate.

There's a moment where this might be epistolary horror, it's certainly possessed of a few literary antecedents. In that respect it recalls any of a number of versions of Dracula (there's a monochrome The Metamorphosis that shares country of origin and perhaps ambition) though there's a different consequence for letting the stranger in. A moment framed in hand and mask and doorway, one that carries a mystery about the girl who loves frogs.

I must confess there's a point where I thought I knew what was going on but I was wrong - indeed, there are moments where the lady (Lee Young-Ne) thinks she knows what's going on, and she's wrong too. Lee Kyoung-Im's film is a striking little piece, Ju Sung-Lim's cinematography and sound work (including Jang Young-Gyu's score) creates an ending that hammers insistently on my memory still. Three purifiers are ranged in rows, their green lights and hum a comforting presence, until there's a change in the air. One of them is not quite the same now, and so too here. Let it in.

The Lady From 406 screened at the 2019 Glasgow Film Festival as part of the Final Girls programme.

Reviewed on: 14 Mar 2019
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A woman tries to stop smoke from leaking into her home.

Director: Kyoung-mi Lee

Writer: Kyoung-mi Lee

Starring: Yeong-ae Lee

Year: 2017

Runtime: 14 minutes

Country: South Korea


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