Director: Kim Ki-Duk
"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, is beautiful." - Kim Ki-Duk
Kim Ki-Duk's debut is an unsettling and unclassifiable piece, revealing a deep fascination with society's disempowered fringes. The Crocodile is a vagrant who trawls the River Han for the bodies of drowned suicide victims, hiding the corpses and extorting money from the bereaved families. His world expands only slightly when he saves a young girl from death at the hands of her boyfriend. Forcing his attentions upon her, he initiates a tortuous relationship - at one point almost blossoming into love when he encourages her to paint his portrait. But, overwhelmed by sadness, the relationship inevitably swerves towards tragedy.
With Crocodile, Kim demonstrated a keenness to chart new inroads into familiar material. The River Han, a permanent visual reference for Seoul's citizens, is reinvented as an excremental sewer that turns people into dead meat. Exemplifying Kim's conviction that beauty lies in ugliness, the river is to the Crocodile a source of survival, both financially and spiritually. The film's visual poetry, clashing head-on with its brutal subject matter, turned Crocodile into an instant classic.