MIFF: Breath (Korea)


Kim Ki-duk’s Breath is set in the freezing air of a South Korean winter. The glacial atmosphere extends inside the unromantic modernist achitecture that is home to Yeon, a sculptress in a gratingly unfulfilling marriage. Also searching for some warmth are the shivering prisoners who inhabit a bare-wall cell of Hang Sung prison. There’s a profound sense of stylistic essentialism in the filmmaking. The script is lean, the characters mercurial and mysterious, and the humour black. Scenes are almost universally monologic, or more accurately, they are dialogues with only one vocal participant. It is a choice that frees Ki-duk from dictating motivations and allows him to harness the silences, the unspoken parts through visuals. For a film that is in some ways so unadorned, with so few speaking roles, it nevertheless relates a complex web of relationships, dependencies, passions and desires where every character is viscerally intertwined with the central lovers.

Screening at Forum: Sun, 12th of August, 11:00 AM