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I picked up this DVD a few months back because of the artwork and genre, and to be honest it's sat on my shelf since that day. I decided to watch the film this weekend as I was bored, and I was pleasantly surprised.
This film in short reminds me of Larry Clark's KIDS. You find yourself starting out with two main characters, both young males looking for quick and easy sex, someone to take care of them and a way to get intoxicated. Eventually some females enter the story, and this helps as it allows the story to explore the male/female relationships at such a young age.
When watching this film, I have to say I kept asking myself how a North American audience would perceive this film. I've heard KIDS caused some eyebrows to be raised, and this in my opinion is darker than KIDS, and a lot more violent. It doesn't have the on screen nudity or sexual conduct of a Ken Park per say, but it does have the same subject matter and it's more violent. One of the more common occurrences in the film is that of young teenage females either being slapped or punched if they didn't listen to their men. I could understand maybe a scene here or there, but there were a lot of blows being thrown in this film most of which landed on females, which may really upset people in North America. I personally didn't find it appealing, but I appreciated the violence in that it made the point of the film even stronger.
I have seen more than my share of coming of age films. The more common ones like Ken Park, Gummo, KIDS, Pixote, Elephant and L.I.E...along with some more obscure titles. TEARS didn't really break any new ground for me, but I think if I would have seen TEARS before any of the titles mentioned, their impact may not have been so great. In some ways TEARS can be seen as a Korean KIDS (even the film quality and shots), but for me it was a lot darker and touched on subjects that KIDS didn't even mention.
If you liked any of the films I mentioned, I would suggest you pick this one up especially if you want something more grim.
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