Director: Ki-duk Kim
Cast: Min-soo Jo, Jung-Jin Lee, Ki-Hong Woo
Country of Origin: South Korea 2012
Winner Golden Lion Venice Film Festival 2012
Language: Korean with English subtitles 104 mins.
'Strange, intense, tough, demanding and pitiless with exaggerated shows of indignity and cruelty, claustrophobic and strangely hypnotic'.
Venice Film Festival protocol forbids the awarding of more than one top prize to the same film. The 2012 jury had wanted the Golden Lion to be awarded to Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' only opting for Kim Ki-duk's 'Pieta' due to the single-win rule.
Gang-Do (Jung-Jin Lee) is a loan shark with a feared reputation amongst the debtors he threatens forcing his victims to cripple themselves in fake accidents before settling insurance payouts. Mi-Son (Min-soo Jo), a middle-aged woman arrives claiming that she's Gang-Do's long-lost mother who abandoned him as a baby, declares that her selfishness caused the evil in him and begs his forgiveness. Treated less than human, Mi-Son accepts each punishment as penance to achieve forgiveness and renewal. Slowly regret and guilt consume Gang-Do.
It's a demanding, disturbing and unnerving piece of cinema with compelling performances and images that mesmerize. Mi-Son's gentle presence, her acceptance of her pain, penitence and suffering to achieve salvation and her sorrow filled gaze linger in the memory.
Strange, intense, tough, demanding and pitiless with exaggerated shows of indignity and cruelty, claustrophobic and strangely hypnotic.
The film takes its title from Michelangelo's sculpture of the Virgin Mary nestling her dying son Jesus.
'Pieta' is Kim Ki-duk's 18th film and the first Korean film to win a top award at a major film festival. The director broke into 'Arirang', a traditional Korean song when he accepted the coveted Golden Lion.
Released by STUDIOCANAL 14th October 2013