A very dark view on humanity, the South Korean rich and on males in
this Hospital thriller drama from the talented
Shin Su-won, the ex-teacher and hailed short film director who made
cineasts all over the world take notice with her
2nd feature film Pluto in 2013 (read more about this great film on my
Korean film page).
The Evil rich and the people that they buy, corrupt, that's a global
human truth as money talks, but we also see the
subordination degradation ritual that so often pops up in especially
South Korean and Japanese films, when the young
"good" doctor Dr. Han (Shin Woon-sub) is forced to kneel and
bow for the rich man slime Mr. Kim, Jr.
We've seen it in films in scenes from schools, offices, the military
and now from a hospital too, some sort of strict
upholding of ranks. Even though Dr. Han is an accomplished doctor the
slimey rich guy rules.
In a Charles Bronson movie he just would knock the creep down .... but
that's in the movies, money rules everywhere.
A woman in her middle 30's, Moon Hye-rim
(played by Seo Young-hee, also in i.a. The Chaser and
what a great face) has just started her new job as a nurse's assistant
at a VIP ward in the Yang Yi Hospital in Seoul.
In this case it seems to be mostly a geriatric VIP ward where the elderly
and very rich are treated. There are the old ex-
chairman Mr. Kim who's paralyzed and in need of a third heart transplant
to survive and his son (Kim Young-min) who
demands only the best service for his bedridden and a goner father,
the nurse Ms. Ko (Ko Seo-hee) and Dr. Han.
A pregnant and comatose, possibly brain-dead, woman is registered as
an anonymous, and she has a heart ...
Her nickname is/was Madonna and her real name Jang Mi-na (played very
nicely by Kwon So-hyun). Mr. Kim, Jr.
pays Moon to find out if Madonna has got any relatives and/or a husband,
and if so, to get a signature OK-ing the
"heart donation", really meaning the death of both the in
late pregnancy Mi-na and her unborn child.
Moon starts to sleuth around and seek the history of Mi-na, when found
almost dead she worked as a prostitute, and
how did she end there? Moon talks to people who "knew" her
and multiple flashbacks follow. Knew ... well, Madonna
was a very lonely woman, living in her own world and a slightly off-kilter
person, and now she's about to die.
All males in this film (with the exception of Dr. Han)
are rapists, misogynists and/or evil pigs in general, and female
director Shin Su-won seems to have needed to let off some pent-up steam
here, go get them creeps Shin.
Circle Line (2012)
.... or perhaps Seoul Sonata ?
This 26 minute short film is included in the extras with english subtitles
and it's great. It won the 65th Cannes Critics
Weeks Canal + Award. The film follows a middle-aged man (Jung In-gi)
who's lost his job without him telling his
family, his pregnant wife and teenage daughter .... yes, sounds like
a South Korean take on Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata.
He just travels around the whole day on the subway Circle line doing
nothing. He meets a female begger with a baby
on her back, he visits his old workplace with his hostile and ice-cold
colleagues (offices always seems to be hostile and
depressing environments in South Korean films ...) and he misses out
on his wife's delivery, Rock, paper and scissors?
Madonna is presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1
and with a korean 5.1 audio. Extras: a 3 minute featurette
and promo footage, and the short Circle Line