Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pieta (2012)

Poster of Pieta
Pieta by Ki-duk Kim
Winner of Golden Lion for Best Film in the 69th Venice International Film Festival, Pieta by Ki-duk Kim is also the first Korean film to win the top prize at one of the three major international film festivals.

The film was announced as a special screening at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (therefore was not included in the official programme booklet). It sold out so quickly that Evania only managed to book us on the first-row seats, which with hindsight, was not an ideal distance to see a film with many violent scenes.

Even though I had certain expectations before going to the film, I was still shocked to see for the first time how the director presented a gruesome reality through his storytelling. A major part of the film was used to depict the protagonist, Gang-Do, a merciless collector for a loan shark. He went through his daily routine by visiting loan-takers who were unable to pay up. His strategy was as simple as crippling his vulnerable clients so their insurance payments could meet the differences.

Things started to change after a mysterious woman appeared out of the blue in Gang-Do's life. His attitude toward his clients and his job gradually changed after he met this woman who claimed to be his long-lost mother. The director kept the audience in a suspicious mood, while presenting the transformation of Gang-Do: he became more humane toward his clients, and cared nothing more than his "mother", even after he discovered the underlying truth.

The last scene of the film will linger in the audience's mind for quite awhile. It's a moment of clarity, transcendence and enlightenment.

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