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South Korea, 1998 (MIFF 2002, Beauty within the Beast – Kim Ki-Duk)

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.

See also...


South Korea, 2004
Samaritan Girl (Samaria) South KoreaWinner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year's Berlin Film Festival, Kim Ki-duk's 10th feature combines the darker-edged themes of his earlier films (B… More »


South Korea, 2004
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter' and Spring (Bom, Yeoreum, Gaeul, Gyeowool, Geurigo Bom) South Korea'spring, Summer, Fall, Winter' and Spring is an exquisitely simple movie. The film's lyrical plainness… More »


Korea, 2004
The mesmerising 3-Iron, which won him the Best Director Award at the Venice Film Festival, again proves Kim Ki-duk deserves his reputation as one of the world's leading outsider filmmakers. Exemplify… More »


France/Korea, 2005
MIFF has enthusiastically flown the flag for South Korean cinema, championing such diverse and mind-altering work as MIFF guests Kim Ki-duk (retrospective in 2002), Park Chan-wook (Old Boy 2004), Im … More »


South Korea, 2006
A recent estimate in Korea claimed that 50 percent of the female population had opted for plastic surgery in their 20s. Considering this epidemic, MIFF favourite Kim Ki-duk's (Bad Guy, The Isle) la… More »

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