301, 302 (1995)
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This Korean film is a cinematic oddity that is definitely a unique viewing experience. It is filled with rather disgusting visuals of food preparation (vegetarians, this is a warning!). The close-ups of people gorging on various food items are bound to make anyone squeamish. The DVD I saw was full screen and the transfer appeared poor, but the cinematography is great with an excellent use of vivid colors. Also, the inventive set design deserves praise, as most of the film takes place either in 302 (very sterile, library-like apartment) or 301 (very sleek and vibrant restaurant-like apartment with a futuristic looking kitchen). The two lead actresses give terrific performances and it is perverse fun watching them torment each other.
The story moves at a slow pace but it works. There are various interesting flashbacks that are crucial to the plot, but unlike other movies with stories that are not told chronologically, this timeline is not difficult to follow. However, what actually happens during one of the flashbacks was a bit confusing due to the way that particular scene was filmed. This scene seemed vital to the story, so I think part of this movie was lost on me. One common theme in the movie is a link between sex and food that is not completely explored but still fascinating and provoking.
301,302 is an interesting and original but often confusing film that I would recommend to folks interested in Asian horror cinema beyond the current popular films. As is the case is with swimming, do not view this after or while eating!
She appears to be only interested in sex, cooking and eating. Where that is just everything the young woman from the 302 hates.
The movie is the story of these two women. How they met and how they made these choices for their lives. They were apparently not meant to meet, but they have in common their extreme loneliness.
The movie is also about love and loneliness.
The very beginning is brilliant: two little girls present their mother's fridge and that is really enjoyable, really. The colors are beautiful (as often in Asian movies). But all in all, I cannot say I completely liked it. It is a bit long some times and comes with no surprise (at least I guessed the end rather early), although a mystery-thriller. The psychology of 302 is not that clear (or maybe not that interesting, or maybe I am only interested in sex, cooking and eating). And another thing very Asian is the close-ups on people's mouth when they are eating. But there are interesting things, still.
At least, you will leave the theater starving or start a diet right away (I am of the first kind...).
For completeness, I shall add that both actresses are beautiful and eventually get naked.
Stimulating cinematography, foreign artistic humor, unconventional yet identifiable characters, cohesive character development and interaction, slow start.. interesting movie.
Humorously misleading packaging (US Version) DVD case reads something along the lines of, "food, sex, and humor" with an image of lovemaking and Korean food. Yes, these are the core themes of 301, 302 but to label this movie as just that for an unprepared audience.. well that's like serving up a plate of stinky tofu and describing it as "healthy Asian food." I absolutely love it, it's genius.
301/302 opens with an investigator visiting the residence of 301, a recently divorced woman who is a master chef, after the disappearance of 302 because she is the one who last saw the missing woman. Unperturbed, 301 invites the investigator to have some fried chicken which he states is the best he ever tasted. The film then goes into a series of flashbacks, showing when 301 moved into her apartment neighboring that of 302. A boisterous, talkative woman is a bit put off by the coldness of her neighbor who prefers to not utter a single word than to accept 301's greetings. However, 302's coldness, and her slender figure, entices 301 to get to know her better, so she cooks 302 a mouthwatering meal. Yet, after 301 departs, 302 tosses the food into the fridge and hurries to the restroom to vomit as if the mere sight of food makes her sick. 301 continues to bring 302 food and each dish ends up in the garbage. After discovering this, 301 tries to force 302 to eat the food, but 302 explains that she cannot eat that her body rejects the food. She also cannot engage in sex because of similar reasons. She states that she has a great filth inside of her that does not allow her to enjoy food or sex and she wishes her body would disintegrate.
After learning this, 301 continues to make more food, foods that she terms to be tender, but no matter how well prepared 302 cannot eat the food and always vomits it all up. After awhile the viewer finally learns 302's dark past. However, she is not the only one with a dark past. Why is 301 so insistent that 302 eats her food? It seems that 302 is not the only one with issues.
The two main themes of 301/302 are food and sexuality. 302 is unable to enjoy or indulge in food or sex while 301 is fond of both. However, because of her rocky marriage and later her divorce she is unable to engage in a fulfilling sexual life so she indulges in food instead. Yet she is not just overeating, she is literally engorging herself with food gaining more than half her bodyweight. 302, on the other hand, is wasting away because of her fears associated with food and sex. A complex, dark film, 301/302 is quite a thought provoking film, but one that should definitely not be watched after enjoying a big meal.
I loved the lighting and I loved the gross camera closeups of peoples faces and butts..added to the repulsiveness.. Also, the fact that the movie just focused on 301/302 and never really went outside much. Everything was shot indoors(except a few scenes )..but all you see through out are just man made creations (not counting the food), you never see any nature around..it is all concrete and steel... For the food also, she always goes to a grocery store with the aisles and aisles of food. I thought it was dark reflection on the 'life' modern man leads. Also I think the director tries to make a statement on the paradigm in which the woman is a homemaker and has nothing to do after a while. There were times in the movie like when 302 is abused by her father or when 301 has sex with her husband that I was reminded of the way sex was portrayed in Die Blechtrommel (The Tin Drum)....as a disgusting and a compulsive act. In summary, I would highly recommend this movie....This is not a flick to pass ur time...it is a very thoughtful movie.
What a boring load of rubbish. I am such an enormous fan of the Asian cinema, and was, LONG before it became cool to be a fan of it.
Scenes that were supposed to shock were completely unbelievable, and EXTREMELY slow! To the point where they may well have raised my eyebrows but they took forever to happen and just lost ALL impact.
The acting was good, but the direction was just so lazy. What starts as a fantastic idea pretty much goes NOWHERE fast, and takes you from intrigued to bored and finally to annoyed that such an idea was wasted!
And as for the SHOCKING ending which will put you off food both during and after the viewing... NOTHING HAPPENS!!! It was unbelievably obvious!
True fans of horror and Asian cinema, I cant stress enough... SAVE your money. I could recommend over 100 better Asian nasties, or creepies.
2/10 (The idea itself is worth 5 but the execution actually takes points off!)
I can't really see how people can see this movie as an horror, thriller or mystery. To me, this movie above all things was a drama, due to its characters that are in it. Their stories and the way they progress throughout this movie really made me see this as a drama and was what also sucked me into the movie and story as a whole.
It also obviously helps that this movie is a very well put together one, when it comes down to its directing. It has some very good and unique storytelling, that lets the story come across as 'weird' but makes the movie involving to watch nevertheless. It's also visually a very attractive movie, in which food plays a very central role. The movie remains above all things a very visual orientated one, which in return also really strengthens the movie its atmosphere and story.
Perhaps this movie is being a bit too unusual for the mainstream audience but then again this movie is also obviously not aimed toward them. You could consider this an art-house movie but don't let that label immediately scare you off from ever seeing this movie. It remains a pretty much accessible one throughout and basically everybody should be able to appreciate the movie its visual and unique and effective approach of its story.
The film has several plot inconsistencies that are never cleared up. 302 appears to have virtually no contact with anyone except for the occasional telephone call from a mysterious editor/writer/friend, but yet the very morning after her disappearance the police have gone looking for her. An unnamed building resident last witnessed 302 going into 301's apartment, but the hallways are always empty and void of other people. Then, in the film's final moments, it becomes clear that 301 has adopted some of 302's physical appearance, cutting her hair to match that of the thin writer; given her desire to eat and eat and eat, why would she suddenly choose to adopt the looks of one who abhorred eating? However, in the broader recipe, these points aren't significant. What matters most is the relationship these two women have with one another and their past lives. Their respective histories are told in effective if not alarming flashbacks, and, despite their differences, it becomes thematically clear why they would be inevitably drawn to one another in the unique environment created by the filmmaker. The viewer can see the conclusion coming, but, like preparing a good meal, it's really more about eating than it is the cooking.
It's an odd relationship, but if not predictably these two women are destined to be together. Only 301 can fix 302's problems with a solution that isn't exactly a five-star dessert.
There are things about the direction that miss the mark, and the end is obvious (if still kind of shocking), but this story is about how people see themselves and trap each other. It's about two people who shut themselves off from the world and accidentally live next door-- very Existential, as the whole flick is. By focusing on and exaggerating our strangeness and how two people over the edge can complement each other, it is about sex on a much more intense and original level than any movie I have seen.
More than its content, it is an amazing piece of stripped-down movie-making that I can only compare to Nolan's "Following" for simplicity and low-budgetness. I suggest my students see these two on that count alone: how to do something unforgettable on no budget.
If you watch it for gore and twists, or FX, you'll waste your time. But for Zen-like imagination, it's hard to beat.
Another disturbing movie from Asia, this time coming from South Korea and it shows. Weird, dark, and sometimes really disgusting, but still more than worth it's money. Oh, before I forget: Please think twice before you are going to watch this movie while eating...
*MINOR SPOILERS* Man,she starts out to be friendly,but man,if you say "No" to that lady,she'll snap.If I lived nead 301 and she tried to invite me over,I'd run away in Horror.Especially when she runs out of food in that one scene and cooks her dog Wang-Wang(!)Yes I know her husband was flirting with other girls,but still,that was a mean trick.He should have gotten a divorce early after 301 and him were arguing over petty things.And how she treated 302!301 seemed like she was force feeding the poor girl.If 302 didn't want to eat,she didn't want to eat(yeah,I'd be too grossed out to eat too if I had to deal with a murderous, Michael Jackson-like butcher).Like I said,turn tail and run if someone like that lives near you.
Other than that,it's enjoyable.Watch it once.
But I did watch it twice. Hmmmmmm.
After a while, Ms. 301 begins cooking and bringing dishes to Ms. 302. But 302 cannot stand the smell, sight or taste of ANY food and throws up after Ms. 301 leaves the food. Every time Ms. 301 brings food, Ms. 302 just pitches it all in the garbage. One day, Ms. 302 is taking the trash out and Ms. 301 sees all the food she's worked so hard to make is being pitched. So, naturally, the lady from 301 goes nuts and begins abusing Ms. 302--shoving her around and forcing her to eat the old festering food. It's almost like a "food rape" how 301 behaves towards 302.
Ms. 302 later explains why she didn't eat the food though a series of flashbacks. It seems that 302 was raped as a teen repeatedly by her father (how 301 guessed this earlier in the film is a total mystery). Analytic therapists would likely appreciate how Ms. 302 has not only developed an intense phobia about having sex, but about having any object enter her body (including food). How she survived so long makes little sense, as she can't tolerate ANYTHING to eat. Ms. 301 feels bad and says she'll try making things that won't bother 302's stomach, but no matter what she tries it all is vomited.
Then, through flashbacks we see 301's story. She was a very happy housewife who lived to cook, keep house and make passionate love to her undeserving husband. Over time, he became less and less attentive and ignored all the wonderful things she did for him. So, in turn, her meals became more and more spectacular, as she was trying to win his love through food. This was to no avail, plus since he was eating less and less, she put on weight eating all the food she so painstakingly made.
Eventually, she catches him with a floozy. He denies it, but she is enraged. To punish him, she takes his favorite possession, their cute little doggy, and serves it to him in a meal! Even in Korea, this is bound to cause marital problems and this is her not so subtle way of demanding a divorce! Well, considering how violent and wacky Ms. 301 is, it wasn't hard to assume that somewhere along the line she'd get around to cooking Ms. 302. 302 is amazed with 301's story--especially since the dog apparently was very tasty. So, she asks Ms. 301 to cook and eat her--and, Ms. 301 also being insane, complies.
The butchering and eating sequence of the film isn't nearly as disgusting as it might have been. However, even if done "tastefully" (get it?), it is such a gross an unnecessary thing to put in a film. Sure, there are sick ^!*#!*%!^*#$@@ out there, but do we need to make films about them? Or, more importantly, make judgment-neutral films about them?! So, the cat's out of the bag, so to speak. The film is about two totally insane women and the cannibalism that concludes the movie. If you are a sick and twisted freak, then this film is for you. All others beware!!!
A final note: This movie reminds me of the Japanese director Miike's film, THE AUDITION. It, too, was about a sick and disturbed woman who loves to cut people to pieces. It, too, is not worth seeing except by maniacs.