Unique film that deserves more attention
27 August 2016
It is disappointing that this film hasn't yet found a larger audience
and hopefully that can change in the future. The film itself helps to
provide a very concrete microcosm for understanding Korean politics
from the viewpoint of South Korea (where the film was made).
The film was written by Ki-duk Kim, who is known mainly for the films
he has written and directed. This particular film was written by Ki-duk
Kim, done by his production company, but not directed by him, and it
doesn't have the extreme absence of dialogue that he is known for (in
films like 3-Iron, Pieta, Samaritan Girl). The film presents a
situation with North Korean spies living in South Korea that is
believable and meant to be as realistic as possible. However, the film
doesn't focus on mindless action, like most North/South Korean conflict
films have in the recent past (avoiding any mimic of James Bond
scenarios). Instead Korean politics are mapped onto the behavior of two
families to present complex problems with concrete situations that both
families are unable to escape.
The phrase to remember in this film is "In the end, all you have is
family", which remains the main concept in this film. This concept
attempts to tell us that Korea is one country and one people, divided
by exterior political influence and manipulation that makes them
puppets, despite being part of one family. The discord within the film
occurs when the characters attempt to make their own decisions during
the film's cycle of endless suffering and rebirth.
It is a great film and may not be very accessible, but if you get a
chance, definitely see it.
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