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South Korea (MIFF 2002, Beauty within the Beast – Kim Ki-Duk)

Director: Kim Ki-Duk

"Hyunshik, an ex-cop in deep pain and on the lam, arrives at the end of his road, an isolated lake dotted with floating huts, serving as a retreat for fishing and a host of sordid activities. Its beautiful but elusive proprietor, Heejin, never speaks, even when supplementing her income by performing sexual favours for her unsavoury guests. Her approach to Hyunshink is predatory. The Isle is a surreal, perverse love story - each emotion boiled down to its most shocking and exaggerated core. Jealousy, lust, revenge and betrayal are played out amid the serene setting of lake and marsh, pitting all that is raw, human and flawed against a backdrop of exquisite natural beauty.

"Director Kim Ki-Duk paints indelible images - a layering of metaphors. Hardly a line is spoken as the two characters challenge each other with their painful and bloody antics. You are left with a sense of triumphant survival, a witness to something at once monstrous and momentous." - Sundance Film Festival

"A gorgeously restrained, apocalyptically horrifying pas de deux." - Village Voice

See also...


Reminiscent of the films of Japan's angry masters (Seijun Suzuki and Shohei Imamura in particular), Kim Ki-Duk has earned a reputation for his unflinching exploration of the sexually and emotionally ... More »


Hang Gi, a tough pimp ruling his brothel with an iron fist, has a huge chip on his shoulder. Moments after setting eyes on Seon-hwa, a pretty and proper college student, he forces her to kiss him ... More »


Set in the back alleys of Paris, Wild Animals sketches the unique friendship between two Koreans living abroad. South Korean Chung-hae goes to Paris to study art but, lacking scruples, he soon winds ... More »


Touring Berlin, Montreal, Moscow and LA Film Festivals, Kim's third film shook audiences with its haunting images of two women reconciling polar differences. Unique in positioning two female ... More »


Kim's most experimental film to date, Real Fiction was shot in just 200 minutes with eight 35mm cameras, ten digital cameras and twelve sequence directors. It's title, translated literally from ... More »


"The recurrent themes in my films are space and captivity. The woman in Crocodile and the man in The Isle are captives; they're characters who become prisoners through a violence which, ironically ... More »

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