On a fishing boat at sea, a 60-year old man has been raising a girl since she was a baby. It is agreed that they will get married on her 17th birthday, and she is 16 now. They live a quiet and secluded life, renting the boat to day fishermen and practicing strange divination rites. Their life changes when a teenage student comes aboard...
Jae-Young is an amateur prostitute who sleeps with men while her best friend Yeo-Jin "manages" her, fixing dates, taking care of the money and making sure the coast is clear. When Jae-Young... 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 ... See full summary »
At South Korea's border with the North, troops guard the coast. Each bullies those ranking beneath him; tensions are high. PFC Kang and his friend Private Kim are on patrol when drinking ... See full summary »
Seh-hee and Ji-woo have dated for two years; jealousy consumes her. She worries he will tire of her face. Then, she disappears. Telling no one, she goes to a plastic surgeon for a new face. Ji-woo has no idea where she is, although when he does respond to other women, someone unseen intervenes. Then, he meets See-hee, and although he tells her he misses Seh-hee, this new relationship blossoms into love. They talk at the same coffee house, visit the same sculpture park, and pose for the same photographs he did with Seh-hee. We know they are the same woman. Has this new face and renewed love made her happy? And what will Ji-woo do when he learns the truth? Is losing face losing self? Written by
Ki-duk Kim is one of my favorite filmmakers. He seems to always stick to his vision and, I suspect, enjoys going against the very grain of where he is expected to go. It is my opinion that he takes audiences to "places" in Korean culture that other Korean filmmakers dare not go. I had been waiting to see this film on the screen but the opportunity has yet to come. I was thrilled when a pal sent me the just released DVD.
Ki-duk Kim's work is surreal, socio-political and melo-dramatic all at once. This can be an uncomfortable combination. I find that there is often a dark comedic element at work in his films which makes it all the more uncomfortable. In fact, I often wonder if the "comedy" I find is intended. As a viewer, I don't care. I find his work endlessly interesting and unforgettable.
This is not his finest work. It is, however, a visually stunning work. At it's heart are two central ideas playing off each other: the 21st century obsession with plastic surgery and the obsessive quality of love/devotion. The film is filled with character insecurity and the neurotic. The surreal set up for this film is also a bit too confused. However, I would urge anyone interested in his work or the films that are coming out of Asis to seek this film out.
There has been criticism of the theatrics of the performers. While I understand this issue I feel the actors give exactly what Kim was after. The pitch of the performances match the over-the-top story line.
This is an intellectual film. I think what I love the most is the fact that it is visually intellectual vs. plot driven intellectual. I am not sure I managed to get that idea out, but I hope whoever reads this understands what I am trying to articulate.
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