A woman catches her husband cheating and in a fit rage brings a knife into his bedroom, slips under the covers and tries to castrate him. He awakes and thwarts her impetuous plot but still wracked with anger she then visits her teenage son’s room and dismembers him instead.
The above plays out over mere minutes but to say any more about the events that unfold would only dilute its impact. Safe to say, things only get worse and more bizarre as the film’s protagonists are pushed to delirious extremes. It’s not exactly a restaging of the Oedipal Complex (though some of its elements are evident) but it does borrow a lot from Greek tragedy, though it’s a bit more extreme than what you would find in the Classics.
Synopsis (from koreanfilm.or.kr)
Hired by moneylenders, a man lives as a loan shark brutally threatening people for pay back their debts. This man, without any family and therefore with nothing to lose, continues his merciless way of life regardless of all the pain he has caused to a countless number of people. One day, a woman appears in front of him claiming to be his mother. He coldly rejects her at first, but gradually accepts her in his life. He decides to quit his cruel job and to live a decent life. Then suddenly the mother is kidnapped. Assuming that it would be by someone he has hurt in the past, he starts to track down all the people he has harassed. The man finally finds the one, only to discover horrifying and dark secrets that were better left unrevealed. Continue reading
Plot summary: (from Variety.com)
A prisoner on death row and a woman who’s drawn to his plight go through their own spring, summer, fall and winter of love in “Breath,” a typically quirky chamber drama by helmer Kim Ki-duk. One of the South Korean maverick’s sparest and most dispassionate works, though still marbled with weirdly comic and tender moments, this quietly affecting item will play best to Kim’s existing fan club rather than enroll many new members, with niche business in markets receptive to his pics. “Breath” opens locally April 26 and competes at Cannes the following month. Continue reading
With a red-light district in Seoul being demolished, the residents there find they have to relocate. Jin-a opts to leave Seoul and heads to the eastern city of Pohang. There she takes up residence in a boarding house run by a small family. Besides the parents, there is a daughter attending university and a son in high school. At first Jin-a is very happy there, however she continues to sell her body driving her into confrontation with the repressed daughter, Hye-mi. Things go from bad to worse when Jin-a meets Hye-mi’s boyfriend… Continue reading
Two Korean ex-pats meet in Paris by chance encounter. One a petty thief and wannabe artist/painter (Chong-Hae), the other a tough guy (Hong San). Hong San saves Chong-Hae from a gang of thugs and the two become friends. Seizing an opportunity, Chong-Hae and Hong San perform martial arts stunts on the streets for money. A French mobster spots them and recruits the duo as hit men. While in Paris Chong-Hae falls in love with a statue-performer and Hong San yearns for the affections of a local peep-show stripper. After much backstabbing and being caught-up in murder; the duo find themselves at war with their mobster recruiters and each other. Written by Alex L Continue reading
The Isle is a case in point. Based around a primitive fishing community on a lake, it’s beautifully shot though morally bankrupt, far too eager to visually astound one moment then deeply shock the next. It focuses on a pseudo sado-masochistic relationship between a mute woman and a murderous ex-cop and, seemingly, is out to break almost every taboo available. There’s animal cruelty on a grand scale. There’s at least one rape scene, and one scene in which sexual violence towards women is almost justified by the filmmaker. There’s self-mutilation; a myriad of bodily functions; and, perhaps only a hundred lines of dialogue in the entire movie. It’s almost as if Kim is setting himself up to be Korea’s Takashi Miike, only with better cinematography. Continue reading
Plot Summary (Taken from IMDb): A young drifter enters strangers’ houses – and lives – while owners are away. He spends a night or a day squatting in, repaying their unwitting hospitality by doing laundry or small repairs. His life changes when he runs into a beautiful woman in an affluent mansion who is ready to escape her unhappy, abusive marriage. Continue reading