Exhausting. This should be used in Christian circles - not to show the damnation of the faith, because it never goes down that rabbit hole; nor as propaganda, because the Church in many ways exacerbates Sin-ae's suffering. But that's why it should be seen. What Chang-dong Lee masterfully shows here is a damaged person's slow mutation of insufferable grief into pride, and the community's part to play in the matter.
The plot thickens unbearably slow - what seams at the beginning like an aleatoric picture show of what it's like to move to a small town motivates a huge set of emotions or confusion later on. Although the acting is excellent and touching it suffers from it's scarce reasoning. Yet the illustrated is brutal enough as it is and offers an intense experience.
This is a very strong, Cassavetes-like tragicomic drama that takes it's cues from the emotional state of its main character rather than conventional plot structure. As a result, it's rather jagged, but always exciting and unpredictable. The tragic "climax" comes halfway through, transforming then into a black satire on religious belief and a statement on how private psychology is much stronger than any mass movement.
This might be one of the most gripping and heartbreaking stories ever told in a cinematic form. Lee Chang-dong brings us a masterful, depressing work of art, which is brought to life by Do-yeon Jeon's captivating performance as a widowed mother who is thrown into the darkness.
structurally curious, in that the conventional story-arc comes to completion about halfway through, giving everything a fun, diagonal quality. the weird second-half is a mixture of absurd allegory, black humor and misanthropy. some of it works, some comes on a bit too strong. the powerhouse acting and humble conclusion make up for the blemishes.
An extraordinary work to finish the year with. Finally had the chance to catch up with this remarkable film from Lee Chang-Dong director of 'Peppermint Candy' and the recent 'Poetry'.Jeon Do-yeon gives a performance for the ages here richly deserving her Cannes laurels that year. A magnificient script taking the viewer through a gamut of emotions and questioning our faith in not only god but in man as well.
Without lapsing into overdetermination or simplification, Lee limns a taut, moving, even mesmerizing film about the uses and limits of faith when confronted by pain, loss, and the freedom of others to script narratives that, while they overlap with our own, can also seem to undermine them or reduce them to absurdity. Mr. Kim serves at once as sinister specter, comic relief, and, finally, something to believe in.