Breath

Breath

DVD - 2011 | Korean
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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. Special features included.
Publisher: [United States] : Palisades Tartan Video, 2011
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (84 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in
Edition: Collector's ed
Performers: Chang Chen, ZIA, Ha Jeong-woo, Gang In-hyeong.
Language Note: Korean dialogue; English subtitles
UPC: 842498000243
Call Number: DVD FOREIGN B
Alternative Title: Sum

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Nursebob
Jul 28, 2017

Notorious quirk master Ki-duk Kim, able to go from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again at the drop of a clapperboard, takes three of arthouse cinema’s most beloved staples—love, sex, and death—and twists them into something highly watchable if not entirely successful. Taken as a love story Kim’s skewed tale of amour fou rings flat and hollow indeed for he doesn’t even try to inject it with anything approaching credibility. But taken as a psychodrama there is enough sexual yin and yang, not to mention gender wars, artistic conceit, and a touch of the divine, to fuel a dozen heated discussions afterwards. And Kim peppers it all with a barrage of cryptic visuals just to pique your inner artiste: the woman's sterile urban apartment contrasts with the inmate's cramped cell where five men huddle beneath makeshift murals of nude women scratched into the concrete walls; the weighty statue of a one-winged angel stares forlornly from behind a television set; a voyeuristic prison warden (tellingly played by Kim himself) watches the doomed lovers through CCTV cameras, alternately encouraging and then frustrating their amorous advances seemingly on a whim. Beautifully shot in the dead of winter (of course) with long brooding takes that cash in on bare branches, blue snowdrifts, and whitewashed prison walls, there is a touch of whimsy amongst all the melancholy despite a patently downbeat ending. A tragic love poem firmly rooted in unreality that still succeeds in addressing issues of yearning, disconnectedness, and a sad kind of redemption.

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