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The Hypnotized (2004)

Eolguleobtneun minyeo (original title)
A psychiatrist fails to help a mental patient during her stay in hospital. The doctor becomes obsessed with his former patient, seeks her on the outside and uses hypnosis to fulfill his sexual desires.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Chang Yun ...
Min-seok (as Chan Yoo)
Jeong-su Han ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sa-Pi Lee
Yun-ah Seo ...
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A psychiatrist fails to help a mental patient during her stay in hospital. The doctor becomes obsessed with his former patient, seeks her on the outside and uses hypnosis to fulfill his sexual desires.

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6 August 2004 (South Korea)  »

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The Hypnotized  »

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Underrated masterpiece
25 June 2005 | by (Zürich) – See all my reviews

This is an amazing movie, the kind that reminds us that cinema is not only a background entertainment for eating popcorn but a (complex) form of Art.

It has unique, beautiful visuals (won best cinematography prize at MIFF), and captivating soundtrack that perfectly suits the pictures, mood and story. The aching but beautiful, thrilling and sometimes erotic atmosphere itself makes it worthy to watch (as people like to watch even such nonsense movies as Wong Kar-wai's 2046 just for the picture and mood) but this time there's something even more valuable underneath the artistic surface: the story.

It's not a movie with gunfights and car chases so the plot can be summarized in one sentence. A girl with BPD (a personality disorder, kind of 'skizophrenia light') and her former psychiatrist meet and start to talk about their lives, and they get close and they get crazy and so on... Most of the "action" happens inside the characters, in their psyche, thoughts, feelings. But even with relatively few happenings there are a lot of surprises, twists in the story, nothing is what it seems to be at first. At times it can be a little difficult to know if we see reality or some imagination or hallucination of the characters but after a while it comes to light, and these "Wow!" and "Aha!"-like moments drag us even deeper in the turmoil of passion, desire, drama and despair. But this is the kind of pain which can be enjoyed for its beauty, the same reason why people like sad songs.

There are also a lot of things in this movie for the "thinking kind", for people who like to analyze, find reference, meaning, metaphors, symbols and so... Everything is in its place, almost every frame has a cleverly composed geometry, lighting, colors. I haven't seen Kim In-shik's first movie either but I will watch it soon, it must be good too. Acting is superb. I have a high interest in psychology so I read some books about this syndrome too. I think the director/writer and actors did much research on this - for an outsider it may not be obvious but the portrayal of BPD and the relationship of the characters are perfectly worked out (well, except some exaggeration like hallucinations). Lead actress Kim Hye-su won an award for it in Korea.

Anyway, I found some not-so-good reviews on the internet too so I'm aware of that it's not a movie for everyone. It's artsy and melancholic. Don't watch it when you're not in the mood - it'll be wasted. The best occasion is maybe a rainy, lonely night with a bottle of wine :) Also, it requires a certain amount of empathy, fantasy and openness. If you've never been depressed, lost, left alone, angry, instable, hoping, longing etc., then it's not so easy to feel for the characters, and probably a part of the story will mean nothing to you. The imaginations of Ji-Su are connected to her feelings, her strange but somewhat coherent inner world, so it also needs some empathy to see it in context. But the movie is still enjoyable for its artistic values or as a thriller, if someone just accepts that she's cracked and that's the way crazies are.

I think this film is mostly a drama and a thriller. There is some mystery in it, but it's not so far from the "reality" of lunatic people. What makes me surprised is to see this movie put in the horror genre. Wow. There is some blood and maybe a scary scene but it's definitely not a horror movie! It's worth checking out the film's official website for a taste of it, there are some beautiful flash videos ("Themes"). I watched them after seeing the film, and still being under its influence, they struck me.

It's sad that this movie haven't received more international recognition yet, and was only shown in a few countries. It deserves much more.


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