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Breath (Soom) (2007) (Korea)

PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:09 am
by hengcs

Director: Kim Ki Duk
Cast: Chang Chen, Park Ji-a, Ha Jung-woo

Seemingly simplistic, it is a film about a man who is facing an impending death, and a woman who has experienced death. She is drawn to him and starts visiting him in the prison …

My Thoughts

-- Having watched a number of his films, I have to admit that he is "smart" and "skilful", with a "style" of his own.

(i) He is "smart" because he knows what appeals to the art audience (and critics). He always to choose to have minimal dialogues (so that nothing is lost in translation; and everything is gained in expression). He always choose to have little explained (so that every creative critic can choose their own interpretation; and every whimsical writer can claim to know what he is conveying).

(ii) Yet, one cannot deny his "skilful style", for many of his scenes always come across as beautifully captured and poetic.

-- So, what have he challenged us with this time? Well, you can claim the following to be indeed the director's deeds … or you may credit the writer's will … hee hee …

* there may be possible spoilers, but it is difficult to discuss without *

(i) What is life and what is death?
The man -- Is it really true that one who faces impending death is really worried about dying?! (or is that what most audience would erroneously assume his various suicide attempts are driven by?!) The woman -- How does it feel to be dead when one is alive? How does it feel to have died and now be alive? Does life become more valuable after death?

PS: I have my interpretation of these two scenes …
(a) When she tries to suffocate him … maybe she hopes to help him die when he is at his happiest (i.e., they are having s**) (since she gathers from the media that his suicide attempts are probably attributed to the impending death)
(b) When the inmates try to suffocate him … maybe they hope to help him die for living is as hellish as death for him …

(ii) What is prison and what is freedom?
The male seems entrapped but his liberation is helped by many (the woman, his inmates, and even the prison guard who allows the visit) … the woman seems so free, yet she cannot free herself (from the past, from the brink of death, and from now, her husband's affair and her infatuation with the prison mate) …

(iii) What is time and what is distance?
On one hand, the impending death seems so near and definite, but yet so distant and draggy … But on the other hand, the four seasons which take a year may pass so soon and sudden …

The prison bars separate the male and female protagonists, but their distance are so close … "Nothing" separates the couple but they are so far apart … in heart and soul …

PS: how abt the prison guard who observes them from the camera?! How abt the prison guard who observes them in proximity …

(iv) How complex are humans? And what are their relationships?
The director does not dictate too much, and by doing so, he depicts much … for the audience will have no end to their deliberation and discussion …

Most of the characters (and their actions) seem complex, and it is anybody's guess what goes through their minds (or the director's mind) … Even the various relationships are not easily typify … btw the male and female protagonists; btw the male and inmates; btw the female protagonist and her husband; etc …

Recommended. ;)

But frankly, sometimes i am at a lost ... are we over crediting the director?! Occasionally, I am still wondering the worth of a film ... should it be decided by what the director really intended, or how creative/crazy a reviewer could pen his interpretations ... ha ha

Re: Breath (Soom) (2007) (Korea)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:30 pm
by justindeimen
I think if a director allows room and the freedom for a person watching the film to draw his own implications and interpretations then I suppose we could credit the director in letting his work "breathe" as it were.

Re: Breath (Soom) (2007) (Korea)

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:11 am
by sfdavide
Any film by Ki-duk Kim I want to see. I hope it comes out on DVD soon.

Re: Breath (Soom) (2007) (Korea)

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:26 pm
by hengcs
Hi sfdavide,
The DVD for region 3 is available.