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2006/08/19 | 415 views | Permalink | Source

Many ordinary moviegoers have often found themselves somewhat uneasy with director Kim Ki-duk's movies for their unique violent, anti-feminism qualities. However, director Kim's new movie Time scheduled for release on August 24 will be probably appealing to more viewers.

Of course, only if you can handle director Kim's unique philosophical introspection and the gory scenes of plastic surgery where facial bones are operated on.

Se-hee (Park Ji-yeon) and Ji-woo (Ha Jung-woo) have been in relationship for two years. As Se-hee suspects her boyfriend's love, however, she becomes neurotically sensitive and wants to poke out the eyes of other women for just staring her boyfriend. As Ji-woo grows increasingly tired of Se-hee's neurotic responses, Se-hee disappears. Six-months later, an entirely differently looking Se-hee, after having undergone plastic surgery, approaches Ji-woo all over again but with another name, Sae-hee. But she comes to realize that the woman Ji-woo really loves is Se-hee. Ji-woo is shocked when he discovers who Sae-hee really is and he himself leaves her to look for his another self. And Sae-hee is left alone, trying to find Ji-woo.

What humans are scared of most is probably time that changes everything, like Sae-hee or Se-hee said. Se-hee undergoes plastic surgery to keep time at bay. A sentence written on the door of the cosmetic surgery clinic saying, 'Do you want live a whole new life?' Is really life changed when a body is changed?" However, a newer Sae-hee finds herself jealous of Se-hee as she realizes whom Ji-woo is really in love with. In fact, it is not that Ji-woo didn't love Se-hee any more but it is that as we all experience he was going though the usual cycle of love, losing passion and flutters and physical interest.

In the ending part of the movie, Sae-hee goes under the plastic surgeon's knife again, regaining her look and meeting her older self. This is not the end of the movie. Same places such as Sculpture Park in an island, tiny café where Ji-woo and Se-hee or Sae-hee have met continue to be seen in the movie. This is the unique feature of Kim, the endless repeat of same places and times in which the two, or actually the three, become confusing.

Throughout the entire running time, the movie continues to ask viewers the real meaning of love, existence, and what kind of meaning our physical body has in relationship. According to director Kim, "Human is the one who endures time and love is finding freshness in endless repetition". This message seems very nice. One critic I met in the premier of this movie mumbled, " Kim Ki-duk became strangely nice".

Ha Jung-woo expresses well the ordinary feeling of those who do not bother to refuse to have sex with other women even though they already have their own girlfriends. (Sorry for guys who may claim I am different). Sung Hyun-ah's act of frantic madness is inspiring, and odd conversation in the movie has sense of unexpected humor. It is also interesting to see Park Ji-yeon who played Se-hee before plastic surgery and Sung Hyun-ah who played Sae-hee are oddly similar looking. Time is the opening movie of Karlovy Vary Film Festival this year. This film is rated for 18 years and older.

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