Saturday, March 7, 2009

DREAM (Kim Ki-duk, 2008, South Korea) Ran sleepwalks through the brittle night; she is possessed by a stranger’s dream, acting out his secret impulses as he struggles to redeem a broken affair. Jin is a scorned lover, victim of his girlfriend’s affair, unable to conquer his consuming obsession. Ran has forsaken her boyfriend, thrown him away because she doesn’t love him anymore; she has regained her own identity. But these two people are strangers of the night, where the inky blackness and brilliant white are the same color, yin and yang of each other’s existence, linked only by Jin’s dream-world where Ran unconsciously acts out his fantasy. They are like a butterfly; once wrapped in their own cocoon to be reborn, their wingspan a symmetrical representation of the other. As they attempt to work out this problem by alternating waking life, their existence becomes more entwined and deprived of love, imbued only with the willpower to stay awake: Jin bears the burden of guilt as he struggles to control his dreams…but is unable to change. Ran is victimized by his uncontrolled passions and feels contempt; she struggles to understand why he can’t solve his destructive problem. Kim Ki-duk examines the human condition at its most basic element, where love isn’t for sale and can’t be bargained for…even at the cost of our soul. We can’t choose who we share this tenuous connection with, and sometimes it is not in our best interests and we become slaves to our passions. Love and pain walk together, brutal twins whose familial bonds are like handcuffs, and Jin torturers himself to into wakefulness to save Ran from punishment: for he is the one whose intent sparked the violent act, she was only the marionette. Finally, his fatal decision leads to a reunion and absolution, as he rests in peace upon the frozen river, hand in ghostly hand. Or was it all a part of his dream? (B)

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