For those of you in the New York area, or traveling there soon, I suggest a side trip to the Museum of Modern Art. For many reasons, of course. One big reason this Spring is the retrospective for one of Korea’s greatest directors, Kim Ki-Duk. It runs from April 23rd thru May 8th.
Have watched three of his films and was truly impressed. Samaritan Girl (2004), 3-Iron (2004), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring (2003). Especially liked the last mentioned, with its deceptive simplicity of mood, scene and emotion, all masking a profound analysis of the wheel of life and our connections to inner and outer worlds.
The word visionary is often overused. But when applied to Kim Ki-Duk, it just fits. He uses the multiple sensory aspects of cinema to their fullest, with word, sound, and landscape adding up to create a place apart. One key for me, when it comes to judging a film’s success and beyond, is whether or not that film is a world unto itself, of a piece, enclosed, as it reaches out beyond its own borders. Kim Ki-Duk’s films are unlike any other space or time.
An excerpt from MoMa’s article:
Kim Ki-Duk was a factory worker, soldier, priest-in-training, and, between 1992 and 1995, a street artist in France, where he discovered cinema through films like Leos Carax’s Les amants de Pont-Neuf and Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs (both 1991). After winning a screenwriting competition in Korea, Kim was able to make, without any formal training, his first feature, Crocodile (1996). Kim’s debut film, long out of circulation, heralded the arrival of a furious young self-taught talent with a vision that, brutal though it is, is grounded in redemption. Over the next eleven years, thirteen more films followed, including three of his best-known films in the United States, the libidinous The Isle (2000), the Buddhist-inflected Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003), and an elliptical treatise on invisibility, 3-Iron (2004).