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WILD ANIMALS

South Korea, 1999 (MIFF 2002, Beauty within the Beast – Kim Ki-Duk)

Director: Kim Ki-Duk

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 up earning a living through various scams. He meets an AWOL North Korean soldier named Hong-san, trying to enlist in the French Foreign Legion. The friendship - initially based on necessity - soon develops its own coded sympathy and compassion. Chung-hae hatches a scheme to use Hong-san's martial arts abilities to impress a local crime lord but they soon become perilously embroiled in the French underworld.

Shot entirely in France - and featuring two well-known French actors, Denis Lavant (Leos Carax' leading man) and Richard Bohringer (Diva, The Cook, The Thief...) in supporting roles - Kim's second feature is nevertheless concerned with acutely Korean issues. The friendship that develops between the two leads is replete with mix-ups tragedy and reconciliation - a turbulent concoction easily read as an allegory of Korea's traumatic separation. Kim's second feature is a fascinating meditation on the theme of the outsider.

"Kim Ki-Duk has lively ideas about plotting and pacing, not to mention an excellent eye for imagery, colour and visual detail." - Tony Rayns, Vancouver Film Festival

See also...

ADDRESS UNKNOWN

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 »

BAD GUY

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 »

THE ISLE

"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 ... More »

REAL FICTION

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 »

CROCODILE

"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 »

BIRDCAGE INN

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 »

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