Saturday, 30 January 2010

"Breathless" (Korea, 2009): the strangest love film I've seen

It is not everyday that we can call a love story a film with the level of violence portrayed in "Breathless", yet this is a film about the redemption power of love; it is about a relationship forged over the background of extraordinary violent family histories (a father who killed his young daughter in a fit of wrath alcohol induced; a father who tries to kill her daughter after accusing her of being a slut who "opens her cunt to everybody").
Courting between this couple is done between a constant exchange of insults and four letter words. Prince charming was not that charming, after all. Yet there is something very touching how this two people coming from utterly dis-functional families try to reach to each other, hesitantly at first, sure footed as the film progresses, to end up in fully blossomed love... But that there was not to be...
Camera work is very agile, hand held, following in extreme close-ups the characters, every shade of emotion (or lack of it) being thrown onto the spectator's face. The fast paced action at the beginning of the film gradually gives way to a much slower pace, to the accompaniment of a sparse rock musical score.
Be warned, this is an extremely violent film, swearing is the normal communication means between the characters. However, this film is a must to see: an uncompromising portray of domestic violence. It is also one of the saddest films I have seen for a long time, emotionally intense.

From Terracotta Distribution:
Director: YANG Ik-june
Country: Korea
Genre: Violent Drama
Starring: Yang Ik-june, Kim Kobbi
Released: 29th January 2010
Winner of over 13 much lauded awards at international film festivals.
Sang-hoon (Yang Ik-june) is a lowlife gangster, a debt collector exercising thuggish ways to collect his money. The recipient of nothing but anger since his childhood, he expresses himself through violence.
When he finally encounters someone who can stand up to him, feisty school-girl Yoon-hee (Kim Kkobbi, recipient of multiple Best Actress awards for this role) they become unlikely friends. Together, they try to change their lives, to escape the confines of society’s periphery; change and escape never comes that easily though.
Cinema Listing:London Hull Manchester
ICA Cinema
From 29th January 2010 Reel Cinema
From 29th January 2010 Cornerhouse
From 5th February 2010
Prince Charles Cinema
From 5th February 2010 Dublin Int'l Film Festival
Mile End Genesis
From 5th February 2010

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