|Suchwiin bulmyeong 2001 South Korea Address Unknown|
This one is probably for Kim Ki-Duk completists only. It is a remarkable film in its relentless presentation of pain. Every single scene in this 2 hour film involves pain.
An American soldier pays for the surgery so a young Korean girl can regain the sight in her impotent, freaky-looking right eye and then wants her to be his sweetheart in return, wink-wink. When she shows a little interest in the Korean boy who liked her just the way she was before the surgery, the American becomes incredulous and tries to hurt her, but before he can she pokes her own eye out to erase her debt to him. Meanwhile, the Korean boy who liked her just the way she was schemes to kill two Korean boys who have been stealing his money and beating him up. When the girl looks freaky again and goes to express her love to the Korean boy, she finds him in jail for shooting the American soldier in the genitals with a bow and arrow.
That's only one of the subplots. This film actually has subtlety in its whirlwind of metaphors. I've seen a lot of films about pain and despair but none that have been so oppressively constant in their execution. This is a great film by one of the great contemporary directors but you need to be ready for it or you may be repulsed. It's not slasher film gross at all. The really dirty stuff, like hanging dogs from a tree and beating them to death with a baseball bat, is done off camera.
Summary: Romances end in blood and the frail hopes of individuals are torn apart in a vile karmic continuity of colonialism, civil war and occupation. After surviving Japanese colonization, Korea became the first war zone of the Cold War. The legacy of war remains today in this divided country. Three forlorn teenagers, Chank-guk, Jihum and Eunok are figures in the landscape of this story, which highlights the global implications of a very Korean reality. None of them is able to escape the withering pull of tragedy. All desperate pleas for love and redemption are returned stamped in red with blood.