Wednesday, April 17, 2013

PIETA (2012) movie review

Pieta (2012) d. Kim, Ki-duk (South Korea)

Jung-Jin Lee commands the screen as an amoral loan shark enforcer who thinks nothing of maiming those who cannot pay their debts, telling them that he will be back to collect the insurance money they receive for their injuries. But when mysterious woman Min-soo Cho appears, claiming to be Lee’s long-absent mother, it ignites a spark of emotion that could prove to be his downfall.

Kim’s 18th feature film showcases an artist unafraid to confront the inherent darkness of humanity, the potential for salvation, and the thin veneer that separates them. Crushing episodes of brutal physical and sexual violence are balanced with Cho and Lee’s tender attempts to bridge decades of loss and pain, a remarkable feat by a master of the form. Life’s emotional toll is apparent in nearly every character’s face; but though even the financially affluent bear scars, here it is seemingly one’s lack of money that assigns their corresponding agony of existence.

Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival.

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