MEMENTO MORI (1999) [Feature]

South Korea (MIFF 2001 , Regional Focus)

Equal parts Carrie-style supernatural thriller and seething lesbian love story, Memento Mori is a radically stylish Korean feature debut. High-schooler Min-ah happens upon a scarlet diary, a record of shared moments between schoolgirls Hyo-shin and Shi-eun. Min-ah's suspicion that there is more than mere friendship between the two is reinforced when she discovers them together in the schools medical room. When Hyo-shin turns up dead soon after, suspicion and fear threaten to tear the entire school apart.

Co-directors Kim Tae-Yong and Min Kyu-Oong lift the lid on the conflicts, friendships, gossip and cruelty that comprise the emotional climate of an all-girl school. They hint at psychokinetic powers and telepathy but leave the script ambiguous enough to suggest that the strange events may simply be the product of teenage hysteria. Exceptionally mature for a first film. Memento Mori exhibits the influence of the work of Italian terror maestro Dario Argento. As tensions mount, it appears as though suicide has claimed a life, unless, of course, it was murder. It seems the secret journal may be the key to a week of frightening occurrences. Best Cinematography award at the Slamdance Film Festival.

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