Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TIME (Kim Ki-duk, 2007, South Korea)

Kim Ki-duk’s films are like staring into the Abyss….and having the Abyss stare back! He questions our very nature and selfish motives and portrays us as merely animals: hot sweaty organisms that eat and shit and breathe. He casts aside our egocentrism and intellectualism and cuts right to the marrow of our instincts. 

TIME is about a relationship that has gone stale over two years, and one woman’s delusion that her lover is no longer interested physically or emotionally. It is about change and identity, not just self-improvement but also how to make another love you all over again…and the tragic results. The plot involves Seh-hee’s mysterious disappearance from her boyfriend’s life and going “under the knife” to attain a new look. She re-enters his life after she’s healed as another woman (he doesn’t recognize her) but realizes that he still misses and loves his old girlfriend. When she discloses her scheme he is terrified and she begins to understand that he doesn’t love this new person that she’s become. As he emotionally recedes she soon slips into manic depression. 

The plot gets more convoluted and becomes a twisted lonely dream, like one of the surreal Dali-esque sculptures surrounded by a hazy mist. The circular drama seems to explain that Seh-hee has not only changed her outward appearance but has become a separate person; she has given birth to a new fractured identity. This tragedy is not always pleasant viewing because it left me anxious, squeamish, and perplexed…but I’ve been thinking about it for days. 

Final Grade: (B)