By Lucia Paula
There are very few films in the genre of drama that can capture an essence of je ne sais quoi while delicately balancing the human experience with elegant relationship pragmatism. Loves Park, the flagship film by renowned filmmaker Carol Rhyu, captures the fleeting moments we all hold dear while lensing them in a realist, nonchalant form that introduces the viewer to the world of love less explored.
On the surface, Loves Park is about love and lost, the exploration of simple and complex relationships through the perspective of a twenty and thirty-something crowd coming of age at the height of the millennium and exploring these intricate bonds as generation-Yers and millenials. However, unlike the world this age group was brought in, the film effectively ventures into the idea that love, with all its wonders and heartfelt good intentions, isn't always ours to adore.
When pregnant housewife Edie Canody learns that her father-in-law has died, she and her husband Benjamin return to a disquieting small town of Loves Park for the funeral, Edie's behavior becomes increasingly erratic and bizarre as she learns that Benjamin wants to stay and run his family's business. She thinks it's a bit odd and Benjamin's actions appear a bit mysterious. The more time Edie spends in Loves Park the more she becomes aware that the kind of life she thought she wanted doesn't quite seem to fit with her values and beliefs.
The 95-minute film takes us on a journey of self-exploration and challenges the viewer to question core beliefs on relationships, including what is love to me - the viewer? For Rhyu, the essence wasn't so much about the concept of love as it was about a stylistic, visually-stimulating and enchanting manner of conveying the pull between personal expectations and what society wants from us.
"For Loves Park, I was more interested in mood and atmosphere rather than plot and information. Veering away from traditional narratives, I was drawn to explore more of the unconscious, surreal, and symbolic language of dreams."
The symbolism is real in the film, even as early on when Edie half-heartedly discusses the concept of letting babies choose their names, or faithfully encouraging her boyfriend to quit living off his parents' money: both themes dealing with a generation unlike that of its predecessors.
"Some years ago I felt pressure to have children. While I was never pregnant, I felt as though I was having an out-of-body experience. It was strange this loss of identity, and I believe the film reflects on some of these feelings."
Loves Park is an eclectic, stunning journey of creative ecstasy that leaves the viewer both intrigued yet very connected. While the film officially debuts on December 24, it is now available to pre-order for online streaming and download via Vimeo.
Carol will be both in Chicago and Los Angeles promoting Loves Park.