THE BACCHUS LADY (2016)

South Korea (MIFF 2016 , Accent on Asia)
Director: E J-yong

"A tour de force from the grand dame of Korean cinema … Youn has delivered a nuanced, dignified turn worthy of attention and awards aplenty." – Hollywood Reporter

In the star outing of an already stellar, five-decade long career, legend of Korean cinema Youn Yuh-Jung teams up with filmmaker and frequent collaborator E J-yong (The Actresses, MIFF 2009) for the delicate, heartrending drama of The Bacchus Lady.

Youn plays So-young, an ageing sex worker whose similarly ageing clients bring with them a lot more than simply sexual hang-ups. Being drawn gently, inexorably into their lives and problems, So-young tries to retain an impartial distance, but finds herself unable to – first, when she finds herself taking on the role of surrogate parent to a young boy; and second, when one of the men requests her help in bringing his life to an end. Both roles force her to reckon with what it means to truly care for another human being.

Handling the most delicate of subject matter with deftness, dignity and a feeling for the absurd, The Bacchus Lady is a powerful exploration of ageing, sex and death from one of global cinema's most commanding actor/director combinations, and a surefire after-film conversation starter.

"Taking on a potentially sordid subject, E brings attention to the harsh realities of growing old without a safety net, but also infuses his characters with warmth and racy humor, typified by the never-say-die attitude of the heroine as played by the magnetic Youn Yuh-Jung." – Variety

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