Director: Kim Ki-Duk
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 characters centre-stage, the film's dividing line runs along class, sex and social status. Jin-Ah, a tough Seoul prostitute exiled from the red-light district, sets up shop at a beachside motel called the Birdcage Inn, closed due to high levels of pollution. While the motel owner is thankful for the extra income, his daughter, Hea-Mi, looks down on Jin-Ah - a situation worsened when Jin-Ah sleeps with Hea-Mi's boyfriend. The issue of sex, which originally divided them, becomes the channel for their reconciliation, as Hea-Mi finds herself filling Jin-Ah's shoes in more ways than one.
The film's striking content, framed within brilliantly composed scenes, placed Kim Ki-Duk square in the eye of the International film world. Following the more sober tones of his first two features, Crocodile and Wild Animals, Kim was able to inject degrees of compassion for the two women in Birdcage Inn - the result is an extraordinary film.