A conscious exploration of fantasy and flesh. The director talks about the novel upon which the film is based, we see the crew at work, the actors talk about what's going on. Y, a ... See full summary »
A conscious exploration of fantasy and flesh. The director talks about the novel upon which the film is based, we see the crew at work, the actors talk about what's going on. Y, a schoolgirl of 18, chooses her first lover (rather than wait to be raped, as were her two older sisters). After phone sex with J, a sculptor who's 38, they begin an affair that, by the second meeting, includes spankings as foreplay. J brings a suitcase full of rods, hoses, and wires; Y gathers sticks to bring. Y's brother discovers the affair. J's wife, studying in Paris, calls him to join her. Will the lovers part? Will the violence get out of hand? When do the lies begin? Written by
This often startling account of a progressively S&M tinged love affair (and, yes, that is the right word for it) between an 18 year old schoolgirl and a married man twice her age remains currently banned in its native South Korea where it's considered pornographic. In a sense it is, considering how much of the film's running time is devoted to fairly explicit (at times clearly non-simulated) sexual encounters. What sets this film apart from other recent releases that have incorporated hardcore footage as part of their narrative (like the astonishing BAISE-MOI or Lars Von Trier's THE IDIOTS) is that here there is actual warmth and sensuality to the copulation sequences, even when the protagonists are beating the feces out of each other, making it much harder one presumes for moralists to condemn on grounds of lacking humanity or compassion. Not that they would allow themselves to be seduced by this deeply moving yet quietly disturbing film in the first place. I for one found it exquisitely erotic (and frequently sweetly funny with the lovers' DIY approach to S&M), even - or especially, perhaps - in its more extreme moments, all of which handled beautifully by the two non-professional leads. The pared-down visual style gives the movie an edge and intensity, as if you're watching real people in a documentary rather than a fiction film. The movie's English title is explained in the shattering last line. It would sound glib to call this a REALM OF THE SENSES for millennium's end but that's the comparison that comes to mind.
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