A young woman who believes she's a cyborg hears voices and harms herself while at work making radios. She's hospitalized in a mental institution where she eats nothing and talks to inanimate objects. She's Young-goon, granddaughter of a woman who thought she was a mouse (and whose dentures Young-goon wears) and a mother who's a butcher without much social grace. Young-goon comes to the attention of Il-sun, a ping-pong playing patient at the institution who makes it his goal to get her to eat. Will he succeed? Which way does sanity lie?Written by
Woman on the radio:
Time for meditation. Get up and listen to the hum of the fridge in the middle of the night. On a cold winter morning... Feel the sound of the boiler, it has been running all night. They move us to tears because they have a purpose of existence. Think of the lighthouse's holy and beautiful heart of love... To be continued.
If only I had just one purpose of existence, too.
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Even crazy people need love
I am a big fan of Park Chan-Wook's "Vengeance" trilogy, and though I knew this would be a different beast, I was keen to see it nonetheless. It is essentially the story of two young people with acute mental problems caused by family troubles. The first, Young- Goon, is a girl who believes she is a cyborg, and is sectioned after attempting to recharge while working on a radio manufacture production line. The second is a young man played by the apparently famous Korean singer Rain (I regret to say I can't confirm his celebrity as I know nothing about Korean pop), who is certainly a talented actor based on the evidence here. He believes, and makes other inmates believe, that he can "steal" anything, including their personal traits and characteristics. Young-Goon won't eat because her delusion convinces her that if she does she will break down irreparably, but she is befriended by Il-Sun (Rain) who devotes his energies to coming up with a strategy for getting her to eat. This film contains moments of mad genius, which I won't divulge here, but for all it's flaws it's worth seeing just for the fantasy set-pieces. However, it touches on mawkish sentimentality at times (a condition not previously noted in Park's films), and initially the inhabitants of the sanitarium seem comedic caricatures who are there merely for our voyeuristic amusement. I'm A Cyborg is definitely at it's best when Park indulges his flair for stunning visual sequences and imaginative story-telling. So while I don't rate it as highly as I do his "Vengeance" films, it certainly warrants pride of place in modern Korean cinema.
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