301/302

(1995) dir. Cheol-su Park
visited: 02/02/08

I remembered reading about this film when it came out and had long been interested in seeing it.  As I got more interested in Korean movies over the past couple years, it bubbled up mentally, yet again.

It’s a bit of a psychological horror film, something you might expect from Roman Polanski or something.  Two single women live across the hall from one another, both with obsessive issues with food and sex.  The woman in 302 cannot stomach anything, stemming from childhood issues of rape and death and butchery.  The woman in 301, while note exactly insatiable, yearns strongly for both, though tries to learn to control herself.

But their relationship with one another is what activates the bizarre, cruel friendship.  301 decides to force 302 to eat, which makes her throw up over and over.  It’s through flashbacks that we learn their backstories.  The film speaks to some feminist issues, to an extent: body issues, sex, desire, playing the contrasts of the women’s stories, their own issues with their bodies, their ability to want, to enjoy, to live.

It’s an interesting film, shot simply, but with interesting portraiture of dualities, splitting the screen with visual juxtapositions, the contrasts of spaces and faces.  The film focuses as well on meat, the viscerality, as well as the beauty of beautifully prepared food.

It’s a good film, not spectacular.  But interesting.

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