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I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)

Ssa-i-bo-geu-ji-man-gwen-chan-a (original title)
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A girl who thinks she is a combat cyborg checks into a mental hospital, where she encounters other psychotics. Eventually, she falls for a man who thinks he can steal people's souls.

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(as Seo-gyeong Jeong),
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8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hie-jin Choi ...
Choi Seul-gi
...
Judge
Yong-nyeo Lee ...
Young-goon's mother
...
Shin Duk-cheon
Ho-jeong Yu ...
Il-sun's mother
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Storyline

A young woman who believes she's a cyborg hears voices and harms herself while at work making radios. She's hospitalized in a mental institution where she eats nothing and talks to inanimate objects. She's Young-goon, granddaughter of a woman who thought she was a mouse (and whose dentures Young-goon wears) and a mother who's a butcher without much social grace. Young-goon comes to the attention of Il-sun, a ping-pong playing patient at the institution who makes it his goal to get her to eat. Will he succeed? Which way does sanity lie? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

7 December 2006 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Soo-jung Lim had to get her weight down to just 39 kg to shoot this film. See more »

Quotes

Park Il-sun: I did all kinds of things in jail. Because I felt I was vanishing. I stole other people's clothes to wear. And I brushed my teeth diligently. Once your teeth start to go, there's no turning back.
The mythomaniac: That's true.
Park Il-sun: I had a psych evaluation and they said I'm schizophrenic and anti-social.
The mythomaniac: Anti-social?
Park Il-sun: Like stealing and fighting for no reason. And not having any sense of guilt or sympathy. But I don't know why they call me anti-social. I have my reasons for stealing. I'm afraid I'll vanish. I'm ...
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I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK
26 July 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Cha Young-goon thinks she's a cyborg. She works in a factory, where the employees all wear bright red and sit in neat, identical rows. One day, she slits her wrist and inserts an electrical cable into the wound in an attempt to recharge herself. Unsurprisingly, she is committed to a mental hospital.

The hospital is coloured in a similar stylistic vein, with lovely pastel shades of primary colours. It's all very different from writer/director's Park Chan-wook's previous films; his bleak Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance fades into black and white half way through the film. I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK is definitely a radical departure, although it does retain Park's visual quirkiness.

Young-goon has Cher-like hair, and wide, innocent eyes; we instantly fall in love with her. Once committed, she begins talking to vending machines and strip lights, using her grandmother's dentures. She also refuses to eat, preferring instead to lick batteries. This attracts the attention of mask-wearing Park Il-sun, fellow patient and kleptomaniac. But Il-sun is not your average, run-of-the-mill pickpocket; he steals the intangible, such as memories, table tennis skill, or politeness.

It is not long before Young-goon enlists Il-sun to steal her sympathy. You see, Young-goon needs to rescue her grandmother, who has also been committed, and kill the doctors holding her prisoner. But she can't stop worrying that her victims have grandmothers of their own. And, as we all know, sympathy is one of the seven deadly robotic sins. (The others include thankfulness, hesitation, and useless daydreaming.) It's all very strange. Refreshingly strange, in fact. Two odd highlights are a yodelling interlude, and an extended Peckinpah-style bloodbath, complete with finger guns. The unusual plot and set pieces are complemented by an equally unusual look. Park's idiosyncratic visual flair translates well from the darkness and violence of his vengeance trilogy, to the lighter world of this romantic comedy. The mental hospital looks like no hospital I've ever seen, with bright green padded rooms, deep red maintenance corridors, and even a hiccupping grandfather clock. The CGI, whether due to budget constraints or artistic choice, has that artificial quality seen all too often, but here it adds to the films carefully crafted aesthetic. It's almost as if we're seeing the hospital through the eyes of the patients; everything seems not quite real. Or perhaps too real.

There is a shaky start, though. Throughout the first half of the film, as we are amused by Young-goon's robotic shenanigans, we are also distanced from her. I'm a Cyborg's charming eccentricities threaten to overwhelm the proceedings, bury the characters in their own strangeness. Thankfully, the really quite genuine relationship between Young-goon and Il-sun injects some much needed humanity, and as the film progresses, we begin to learn more of, and sympathise with, Young-goon's plight.

I'm a Cyborg is one of those rare and welcome films that you cannot help but smile through. Young-goon's innocent eyes, the hospital's pastel-coloured walls, the glorious flights of fancy; it all makes for one of the most charming, and definitely the oddest, romantic comedy I have seen in a long time. Odd in the good way, though.


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