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...
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A sixty and something year old captain has been raising for ten years a girl since she was six in his old fishing vessel that is permanently anchored offshore with the intention of marrying her on her seventeenth birthday. He survives bringing fishermen to fish in the vessel and predicting the future using his bow and shooting arrows in a Buddhist painting on the hull of the vessel while the girl moves back and forth in a swing. He also uses the bow and arrows to protect the girl against sexual assault of the fishermen. They live happily until the day that a teenage student comes to the ship and the girl feels attracted to him. When the teenager discovers that the girl was abducted when she was six and does not know the world, he returns to the vessel to bring the girl back to her parents.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I've only seen one other Ki-duk Kim movie, Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall... and Spring. It was quite lovely, especially in its imagery. Yet there was something inherently phony about the whole thing (I even sensed this long before I learned Kim had only a passing familiarity with the religion of Buddhism, which the whole film revolves around). The Bow similarly suffers from phoniness, but even more so. It's a fairy tale of sorts about an old man, probably in his late 60s, who has been raising a young girl for the last decade. She is now 16. He plans to marry her the day she turns 17. Kim begs the audience not to find that too disgusting. I couldn't really do it. I also could never get past the film's corny earnestness, nor its repetitiveness, nor its slapdash symbolism. It has some nice images, and the music is good for a while (it becomes far too overbearing as the film moves on). The young girl, Yeo-reum Han, when she's not being overtly sexualized, is nice to look at (the actress seems to have been in her 20s when the film was made, but she really does look like a young teenager).
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