Can a man have an orgasm without a penis? Probable something most families will be discussing over the dinner table tonight, far-fetched, not if they have recently seen Kim Ki-duk latest movie. An exceptional piece of work with a narrative that navigates a path which most other filmmakers would fear to tread.
Almost 55 years old the South Korean director/writer shows no sign of mellowing his film making skills. Following the brilliant Pieta (2012) - a film which mixed Christian symbolism and highly sexual content, which depicts the mysterious relationship between a brutal man who works for loan sharks and a middle-aged woman who claims that she is his mother - with a movie that’s equally as intense, bloodthirsty and sexy. Mobius (2013), which was initially banned in South Korea, before the Korea Media Rating Board reviewed the film and changed the rating, starts with a row between mother and father about who should answer a ringing mobile phone, mother is aware that its fathers mistress calling him! Following the embittered dispute that follows mother retrieves a knife kept under the Buddha statue in the family’s front room and attacks her husband attempting to part him from his penis, when this fails she turns on her teenage son who she has just caught masturbating and manages to part the lad from his manhood, eating the severed genital in front of both her husband and son. Obviously the father feels guilty and dumps his mistress who then takes pity on the son and gets raped for her trouble. Meanwhile the father spends his time searching the Internet to see if it’s possible for his son to have a transplant but of course he will need a donor!
In an introduction made for the Terracotta Film Festival Kim Ki-duk assures us that “there is a
message behind this intense, bloodthirsty and sexy film which is meant to bring out all that is human, desire, family and sex, and to show all human existence is connected with each other and that the personal and society are also connected together by sex”. Described by the director as having quite shocking and cruel images (which I would not argue with!) that are used to deal with the essence of desire and the sort of anger that humans possess. He admits that watching the scenes in the film will be painful and hard for the viewer but insists that you should look beyond that and see the message he intended!
Although the movie does have a script it is completely void of dialog, its not a silent film with its emotional grunts and groans, it’s just that no one actually speaks - some thing that you will fail to notice once the story begins to unfold! It stars Kim regular Jo Jae-hyeon as the father; Seo Yeong-joo-I, who at sixteen years old is to young to see the movie, plays the challenging part of the son who the director first saw in Juvenile Offender (2012), which in turn led to him being offered the role. The same actress, the wonderful Lee Eun-woo, plays both mother and mistress. All three are totally convincing as are the supporting cast. Even though it received many distinctions in the festival circuit it shamefully did not get a full UK distribution when released on the 8th August 2014. Described as ‘a most inventive and intriguing film’, ‘enjoyably perverse’, and ‘an Oedipal fairy tale’ - ok maybe not to every ones taste but those of you who are Kim Ki-duk devotees or perhaps just like watching something different must see this joyously amusing film now available on DVD.