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The Isle(섬)

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Korea · 2000
1h 30m
Director Kim Ki-duk
Starring Suh Jung, Kim Yu-seok, Seo Won, Son Min-seok
Genre Drama, Thriller

Mute Hee-Jin is working as a clerk in a fishing resort in the Korean wilderness, selling baits, food and occasionally her body to the fishing tourists. One day she falls in love with Hyun-Shik, who is on the run from the police, and rescues him with a fish hook when he tries to commit suicide.

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What are critics saying?


Film Threat by

The increasingly creepy plot is counter balanced by a genuinely tender romance, which makes the film impossible to categorise, and will no doubt limit it to obscure arthouses and cinephiles who have very strong stomachs. They won't be disappointed.


Christian Science Monitor by David Sterritt

South Korean melodrama uses a unique location, dominated by fishermen's floating huts, as the background for an overheated story that grows steadily more grotesque and unpleasant as it proceeds.


TV Guide Magazine by Ken Fox

The film nevertheless exerts a strange sort of power that makes for compelling viewing, even as its images force one to repeatedly look away.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

Kim's movie rocks -- I saw it cold a year ago, and I don't think I've been as entranced and appalled by an Asian film since Shinya Tsukamoto's "Iron Man."


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

This is the most gruesome and quease-inducing film you are likely to have seen. You may not even want to read the descriptions in this review. Yet it is also beautiful, angry and sad, with a curious sick poetry, as if the Marquis de Sade had gone in for pastel landscapes.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

At once predatory and vulnerable, Jung has a primitive intensity that speaks louder than words, carrying an enigmatic and often maddeningly elusive film that's short on dialogue, rational behavior, and narrative logic.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

A movie of extremes, and that goes for its aesthetics. As gory as the scenes of torture and self-mutilation may be, they are pitted against shimmering cinematography that lends the setting the ethereal beauty of an Asian landscape painting.

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