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Pieta (2012)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 6,306 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 28 user | 118 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

A loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother.

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Title: Pieta (2012)

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13 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Mi-Son
...
Gang-Do (as Jeong-jin Lee)
Ki-Hong Woo ...
Hoon-chul
Eunjin Kang ...
Myeong-ja (Hoon-Chul's wife)
Jae-ryong Cho ...
Tae-seung
Myeong-ja Lee ...
Mother of Suicidal Man
Jun-seok Heo ...
Suicidal Man
Se-in Kwon ...
Machinist with the Guitar
Mun-su Song ...
Borrower Who Climbs the Steps
Beom-jun Kim ...
Myeongdong Man
Jong-hak Son ...
Boss
Jin Yong-Ok ...
Shop Owner in Wheelchair
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jae-rok Kim ...
Monk
Won-jang Lee ...
Sang-gu
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Storyline

A loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother.

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

6 September 2012 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Aci  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,222 (USA) (17 May 2013)

Gross:

$21,932 (USA) (21 June 2013)
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

South Korea's submission to the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2012 (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disturbing retelling of grief and Greek Tragedy
15 April 2013 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

  • Review originally posted at The Frame Loop. Visit


www.theframeloop.com -

Even before the first image of an ominously hanging, rusty hook, Pieta comes to CPH PIX Film Festival with a great deal of infamy. The latest from South Korean, art-house provocateur Kim Ki Duk (3-Iron, The Isle) this unnerving revenge drama wowed last year's Venice Film Festival jury so much that it went on to beat Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master to the coveted Golden Lion award. Is it a better film than that aptly titled PTA project? Absolutely not. Is Pieta a gritty, harrowing and wholly engrossing exercise in cinematic tolerance? You're damn right it is.

Li Jung-Jin stars as Kang-Do, the merciless henchman to a crooked Seoul loan shark. Living in a threadbare apartment, with a diet consisting of half-cooked meat, he scuttles across the city, ruffling up people's feathers and making sure they pay up their debts, or else suffer the brutal consequences. His lonesome, pitiful existence is transformed by the arrival of Mi-Sun (Jo Min-Soo), an elderly woman claiming to be his estranged mother. Seeking repentance and the love of the inhumane monster she birthed and abandoned, the disbelieving Kang-Do puts her through a slew of horrific tests that will prove their bloodline, from eating dismembered body parts, to unsolicited incest. Boundaries are crossed, taboos busted open, and a repugnant relationship ensues.

Despite the industrial slum setting and the subtext of tooth/limbless capitalism, Pieta conforms to a typical Greek tragedy plot line. With each revelation more traumatic and sickening than the last, Kim tells the story with brute emotional force and savagery, without ever resorting to the ultra-violence made so common in South Korean cinema from the likes of Park Chan-Wook and The Vengeance Trilogy. While Jo Young-Jik's curious hand-held cinematography may look away from the most distressing of graphic acts, the pain lingers on the screen through Li and Jo's fantastic, expressionistic acting. The pair have a terse, inflammatory chemistry which is so enthralling that the mother-son relationship is all the more sickening.

Perhaps the film's success in Europe isn't all that surprising. Tackling the cruel storyline through emotional heft – without the archetypal glossy production values of the region - Pieta could be mistaken for a Lars von Trier or Gaspar Noé project. With a sublime first act, Kim gets lost in the knotty narrative he has laid out before him, and ties everything up in a stirring denouement that brings some genuine heart to the otherwise pitiful portrait of dog-eat-dog, Seoul city-living.

In that brilliant opening third, Mi-Sun turns to Kang-Do to denounce money as the 'beginning and the end of all things: love, honour, violence, fury, hatred, jealousy, revenge, death.' Unsavoury topics abound, Kim Ki-Duk combats them all with severe conviction in Pieta. If you can stomach such callousness, then this is diatribe is well worth a watch.

  • Review originally posted at The Frame Loop. Visit


www.theframeloop.com -


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Who was the old woman near the end? degead
If she wasn't his mom... liquidghost-1
Anyone feel this was like a modern A Christmas Carol? tkksilvergun
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