Seh-hee and Ji-woo have dated for two years; jealousy consumes her. She worries he will tire of her face. Then, she disappears. Telling no one, she goes to a plastic surgeon for a new face. Ji-woo has no idea where she is, although when he does respond to other women, someone unseen intervenes. Then, he meets See-hee, and although he tells her he misses Seh-hee, this new relationship blossoms into love. They talk at the same coffee house, visit the same sculpture park, and pose for the same photographs he did with Seh-hee. We know they are the same woman. Has this new face and renewed love made her happy? And what will Ji-woo do when he learns the truth? Is losing face losing self?Written by
Kim Ki-Duk's latest movie deals with a story set in metropolitan environment. The main characters are fully aware of the speed with which the city breathes and the crowds of people that pass; they attempt to fight time, develop recognizable identities, yet still feel lost in the big place. These thoughts lead the woman character (played by Seong Hyeon-a) to a conclusion that the only way to keep her lover is to not tire the relationship; and for such it is necessary that she undergoes plastic surgery. Her lover doesn't know that; he's forced to live six months without any idea where she's gone to, if she's alive, whether she's dumped him or not and most importantly, if he should keep his heart open to her love and possibly hope for her comeback.
These are heartbreaking moments, but surprisingly the Czech audience took them rather easily; most repeatedly laughed at scenes which are funny, but at the same time raise important question and, for my taste, require much attention paid.
During the six months in which the woman's face is fixing up, the movie centers around her lover and the life he's attempting to live; at that time the movie is floating endlessly, introducing new characters (if I'm not mistaken, all played by the same great actress). It is entertaining but at the same time includes thoughts revolving around existence, recognition, individuality and similar. Eventually both ends meet, with funny yet consequent twist at the end.
Similarly to one of the author's previous movie, 3-Iron, the movie feels like a soft ballad; shots composed with a beautiful sense for color, reflections and composition, but also shaky-cam feeling whenever necessary. Although "Time" is set in a huge city, places are revisited again and memorized on photos, as are the characters. Unusually for Kim Ki-Duk, there is also lots of dialogue included; fortunately enough not only does that not wear out but it's often pretty entertaining.
Summed up, "Time" was a beautiful experience, a movie that completely carried me away. If you're planning on seeing it, do not underestimate the somewhat light appearance; it deals with very important issues, and it deals with them thoroughly. Pay attention and you'll be rewarded big time.
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