Romances end in blood and the frail hopes of individuals are torn apart in a vile karmic continuity of colonialism, civil war and occupation. After surviving Japanese colonization, Korea ... See full summary »
In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »
The circularity of violence seen in a story that circles on itself. In Macedonia, during war in Bosnia, Christians hunt an ethnic Albanian girl who may have murdered one of their own. A ... See full summary »
The Taliban are ruling Afghanistan, they being a repressive regime especially for women, who, among other things, are not allowed to work. This situation is especially difficult for one ... See full summary »
Mohammad Arif Herati
In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a Japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honor and glory. In his view, the allied prisoners are ... See full summary »
Romances end in blood and the frail hopes of individuals are torn apart in a vile karmic continuity of colonialism, civil war and occupation. After surviving Japanese colonization, Korea became the first war zone of the Cold War. The legacy of war remains today in this divided country. Three forlorn teenagers, Chank-guk, Jihum and Eunok are figures in the landscape of this story, which highlights the global implications of a very Korean reality. None of them is able to escape the withering pull of tragedy. All desperate pleas for love and redemption are returned stamped in red with
Not unlike the Oscar Wilde play from which my "One Line Summary" for this comment is co-opted the director of `Address Unknown' requires his audience to think.
In all of the Kim Ki-duk films I have seen (The Isle, Address Unknown, Bad Guy) what lies on the surface differs greatly from what lies beneath it. He is working in a language of metaphor and allegory with characters that range from caricature to archetype to fodder. By fodder I mean they are impenetrable and near impossible to empathize/sympathize with for the sole reason that emotional attachment is not the director's intention. He is creating a fictional world made to comment on the world we live in.
By exploring the eclectic residents of an isolated South Korean village in close proximity to an American military base Ki-duk is dealing with a number of issues such as globalization (the base, the bullies who moved to America), language (the theme of English, the comic interlude of the Playboy translation), gender (obvious), race (obvious), history (that family whose father turned out to be a traitor, the constant references to the past from the veterans), tradition (the archery), relationships (Korean girl and U.S. solider), war (obvious) and violence (obvious). The bleak, violent, at times repulsive world the film takes place in is so over-the-top that the audience can't help but think that it is just a means to an end.
In films like `The Isle' and `The Bad Guy' the black humour and sarcasm are more evident. `Address Unknown' is a tad more subtle but there are more than enough hints to indicate the film should not be taken at face value. An excellent example is the constant, almost laughable violence.
Kim Ki-duk is one of a handful of directors striving to create intelligent cinema that is accessible as well. The East is bursting at the seams with talent and I really hope it starts to get the recognition it deserves.
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