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
An incredible exploration into the oblivion of contemporary identity.
There is something startlingly relevant to this film. The ever increasing lack of identity in the modern world, and the rise of all sorts of abstract selves, from Internet IDs to Social Security numbers, has left our age with nothing but ever changing faces and dubious selves. The most corporeal and brutal example of this is cosmetic surgery. And, Kim Ki-Duk's haunting masterpiece speaks to both the obsession with a physical ideal, as well as the very ambiguous ideology of identity.
As a cynical and often apathetic moviegoer, this film entranced, bewildered and truly disconcerted me. Kim Ki-Duk is developing into an incredible filmmaker. The cinematography is delicately crisp, in a way that is very new and only really found in a handful of Asian movies from about the last 5 years. The dramatic elements are utterly profound, and the plot functions on many levels, (though not specifically allegorical) invoking and evoking issues ranging from history, the failure and ultimate relativism of communication, the absurd necessity for beauty, as well as a plethora of other parallels.
Anyhow, I find myself being verbose, but I just watched this movie and am terribly excited about it. Instead, the film itself is anything but convoluted, and though not exceedingly complex, is incredibly deep. Be patient, because it starts a little slowly, but erupts into something so strange and meaningful that I would recommend this film to anyone that enjoys Asian cinema or that likes to think.
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