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 »
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...
Mute Hee-Jin is working as a clerk in a fishing resort in the Korean wilderness; selling baits, food and occasionally her body to the fishing tourists. One day she falls in love to ... See full summary »
In busy downtown Seoul, a thuggish young man notices a fresh-faced college student who sits on a bench. He stares then sits next to her. She looks at him as if he's vermin, rises and walks ... See full summary »
A compelling of story of sin, salvation, redemption and, ultimately, atonement
Sin, salvation, redemption and, ultimately, atonement played out brilliantly by actors Min-soo Jo (Mi-Son) and Jeong jin Lee (Gang-Do) against a visually stark and almost Orwellian, post-apocalyptic setting. This is Pieta. In my view, it is a film masterpiece by South Korean director Ki-duk Kim who also wrote the sparse yet visceral narrative. This is his 18th film which was first seen at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival where it was the winner of a significant award.
Gang-Do is a lonely, brutal yet affectless debt collector who causes recalcitrant borrowers to suffer by the same mechanized instruments which generate their own, meagre profit. Unaccepting of their miserable excuses, he delivers agonizing punishment to them for their capitalist desires and excesses.
A mysterious, middle-aged but almost younger-looking woman (Mi-Son) appears on the scene, quietly revealing herself to a sneering and suspicious Gang-Do that she is his mother who, 30 years earlier, abandoned him at birth. Incredulous at first, Gang-Do tests her veracity through a series of tormenting exactitudes, each more unflinchingly barbarous than the former until the slowly evolving prospect of her being truthful shatters his emotional isolation and insularity. Love for her begins to fill the erstwhile void of his existence. Compassion, which is one of the fruits of love, takes hold of Gang-Do just as the chrysalis of humanity emerges to temper his monstrous occupation.
But all is not as it appears. There is a dark and twisted sub-plot to this story for Gang-Do. Just like his destitute and hapless victims, he too must pay for his excesses and the agonized screams of their pain from which he so callously walked away, now will be wrenched from his own, newly unprotected heart.
With this brooding and disturbing film, there is no room, time or appropriateness for munching on pop-corn and slurping on giant Cokes. The profound cruelty and religious overtones played against the subtle manipulations of revenge do not resolve into the typical, American "feel-good" ending with the promise of an even more superficial redux.
This is a provocative film which should stimulate quiet reflection upon the greater movements of the cosmos and the ultimate value of our place in its grand design.
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