67 user 78 critic

Seom (2000)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 22 April 2000 (South Korea)
A Carer becomes the mother to a secluded isle.


Ki-duk Kim


Ki-duk Kim

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5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Jung Suh ... Hee-Jin
Yoosuk Kim Yoosuk Kim ... Hyun-Shik
Sung-hee Park Sung-hee Park ... Eun-A
Jae-Hyun Cho ... Mang-Chee (as Jae-hyeon Jo)
Hang-Seon Jang Hang-Seon Jang ... Middle-aged man
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yeo-jin Kim
Won Seo Won Seo


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 Hyun-Shik, who is on the run for the police and rescues him with a fish hook, when he tries to commit suicide. Written by Moritz Muehlenhoff <jmm@inutil.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

fishing | fish hook | police | mute | fish | See All (105) »


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



South Korea



Release Date:

22 April 2000 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

La isla See more »

Filming Locations:

South Korea


Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,546, 25 August 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$21,075, 17 November 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?

Alternate Versions

The cut UK print was submitted to the Irish censor who cited the violence as causing concern - he gave the distributor (Tartan Films) two options:
  • Resubmit the same version (presumably for an appeal/reconsideration)
  • Submit an altered version to secure a certificate
They went with the latter, despite the changes not being required under law - this censored version was certified 18 on September 29, 2004. The cuts totaled 3m 15s on top of the UK's 1m 50s to animal cruelty - the running time of the Irish print is 84m 53s compared to the UK's 88m 8s. No details for the cuts or justification for the decision were made available. An article in the Irish Times issue dated October 1, 2004 explains it in further detail: "The Isle was due to open at UGC Cinemas in Dublin on September 10th as part of the touring Asia Extreme season organised by the London-based distributors, Tartan Films. On that date, showings of the South Korean film were listed in all the daily UGC advertisements, and a display ad for the film was run in The Ticket, as was Donald Clarke's review. But the film never opened and has yet to receive a public screening in Ireland. The Isle was submitted to the censor's office on September 8th, just two days before it was due to be released - very late notice at an exceptionally busy period for new releases. John Kelleher, the film censor, made time to view it the next day, but found that some elements of the film required serious consideration. "We contacted Tartan and drew attention to scenes of sexual violence and explicit self-mutilation that were causing us concern," he says. "It was entirely up to Tartan Films if they wanted to resubmit the same version of the film, or a different version." Tartan subsequently submitted an altered version of the film, which was viewed by Kelleher on Wednesday morning and passed with an 18 certificate. The film had already been cut by 110 seconds by the British Board of Film Classification because of a scene of animal cruelty. In his three-star review, Donald Clarke noted "the notorious scene in which the female lead, part avenging angel, part lady of the lake, inserts fishhooks into her vagina and then, as if that were not uncomfortable enough, hauls them out again". He also noted that in the film's "envelope-pushing shock therapy, the hero does something similar to his esophagus." The Isle will probably open at the end of the Asia Extreme season, on November 5th." See more »


Referenced in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Float Your Boat?
7 September 2004 | by Ali_John_CatterallSee all my reviews

There are two immutable truths in matters of the heart. None more desirable than those who do not want you; none less desirable than those you could possess with ease. Somewhere between these two axioms fall the doomed lovers of this spellbinding offering. Beautiful Hee-Jin (Jung) is the grounds keeper for a dingy Korean fishing resort, selling snacks, bait, her tits 'n' ass, to the tourists she ferries between flotillas of fishing huts.

Fugitive Hyun-Shik (Yoo-Suk) shows up one day, shivering, suicidal, utterly alone. Another lost soul, Hee-Jin's smitten because, unlike her sleazy clientèle, Hyun-Shik's different. He doesn't abuse her or make fun of her muteness. And he fashions exquisite little wire sculptures for her, as they study one another across the rain-spattered lake. He in his unreachable desolation, she in her shore-side cabin, cat-like and inscrutable. The first time he tries to kill himself, by swallowing fishing hooks, she brings him back to life – to love – the only way she knows. From suicide to sex in three minutes. And nobody is going to get in her way. Director Kim Ki-duk, responsible for surprise Art-house hit Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring, has crafted another beautiful-horrible movie; gorgeous to look at, and often between splayed fingers. It's as minimal and soulful as a haiku. And as painful as falling in love

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