If you are slightly squeamish or easily offended, then nothing can prepare you for the shocking and subversive content which permeates pretty much the entire film. Although it does seem like an exercise of shock value and bad taste, there is a twisted Buddhist parable to be found beneath if you see the penis symbolising desire and ego, which in Buddhist belief must be eradicated. I think you see what I'm getting at!
Korean Director Kim Ki Duk uses some strange stylistic choices, most notably the fact that there is absolutely no dialogue in the film, only gasps, screams and moans of pain and pleasure. Personally, I found it a bit jarring at first, but after a while, you get used to this as there is a lot of action and content which do all the talking. For me it also shows social disconnection in society. People in this film use each other for sexual pleasure or are in some sort of emotional or physical conflict with each other, signifying a world where people only serve their ego's.
Kim Ki Duk also wastes no time into getting down to the nitty gritty. Within the first ten minutes, most men in the audience will be sitting cross legged and wincing in general discomfort. It starts with a seemingly normal family consisting of a man, wife and son (with the lack of dialogue, you never learn their names). Man goes to meet his younger mistress (Also played by same actress who plays his wife!). While they have sex in a car, the wife sees them and notices the son is also there watching them and getting turned on by it. In a fit of jealous rage, wife attempts to cut off man's penis when he returns home. After failing that, she proceeds to cut off her sons penis while he sleeps, eats it, then runs away!
Now that the son has no penis, he finds it hard to act upon his intense desire he has for his father's mistress who he regularly visits in the shop she works in. With the forced removal of sexual pleasure, he tries to find other ways to experience this feeling with his father's assistance. After some internet research, father finds out that extreme friction of the skin can bring a man to orgasm as well as stabbing instruments. We see scenes of son and father rubbing their skin with a stone and experiencing pleasure, but as soon as the pleasure sensations fade, they are left with the intense pain which follows the temporary pleasure. Son starts to have an intense sexual relationship with mistress which involves her stabbing him in the shoulder with knife and digging it in him, causing the friction needed to bring him to orgasm. This signifies again the lack of human compassion and warmth during intimate moments, giving way to human cruelty and it's projection through self loathing and insecurity.
When a surgical procedure takes place involving the father's penis being transferred to the son, the son has to face the Freudian nightmare that he has sexual feelings for his own mother. It is interesting how the same actress plays both the mother and the younger mistress as I think it means the son has discovered that the woman he wants is a projection of his mother. Kim Ki Duk does not shy away from the incest theme here as he continues to make the audience feel uncomfortable. When events inevitably lead to tragedy, son finally realises he needs to remove his desire (penis) and then lead a monastic and happy life. One of the principal teachings of Buddhism is to eliminate desire in order to have a non-judgemental understanding of the world without emotional attachment which only seeks to distort your perceptions and happiness. Of course there are probably nicer and more palatable ways of illustrating Buddhist principles, but I personally find it admirable that Kim Ki Duk made these shocking choices without compromise. It is baffling, uncomfortable, intense and graphic, but never dull and full of symbolic possibility.
Drama / Thriller
Drama / Thriller
A housewife (Lee Eun-Woo) becomes enraged with jealousy over her husband's (Cho Jae-Hyun) affair. Meanwhile, their son (Seo Young-Joo) sits in the periphery, observing their violent confrontations. One evening, the housewife takes a kitchen knife into their bedroom to exact revenge on the father. The father though is able to repel her attack and throws her out of the bedroom. The mother then goes into the son's room.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 21, 2021 at 02:41 AM