Yeah, we now have a name for the film series we’ve been following this term: Gaze and Surveillance / Voyeurs and Intruders. Initially I had wanted to focus only on the theme of voyeurism. But as I went over the films that might be relevant, I saw that it’d be difficult to set the whole series on this single topic. Therefore I widened the perspective, accepted to be more flexible. I hope we’ll be able to relate more things as we move on in the series — it’s better that way, no? (And the whole list of films that we’re going to watch is almost complete. I’ll post it here in a week or so.)
The second film we have in this series is a film that has already become a modern classic: Bin-Jip (2004) by the Korean director Kim Ki-Duk. The title translates as “Empty House”, which is one of the two official English titles of the film. The other title is “3-Iron”: the name of the golf club which we see in the film. (I read on a website that this club is one of the least used in a golf game. So are the two main characters of the film: Excluded, almost non-existent. Hence the name…)
The 88-minutes-long film portrays the spiritual aspect of love between two people. The male character is a gentle drifter, who breaks into vacant houses and does the ordinary housework: like washing the clothes and mending the technical equipment. His life in isolation changes as he enters a nonempty house, where he encounters the isolated female character, a woman abused and battered by her husband. The two evade the husband and start to occupy empty houses together. An intense love which does not require speech grows between the two, yet their serene life is altered when the police holds them responsible for a death. They are set apart, although definitely not entirely.
About his film, Kim Ki-Duk –one of the most acclaimed directors of the last decade, especially due to his Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003) and Samaritan Girl (2004)– says:
The question that I explore in 3-Iron . . . is in some ways about this world we occupy and whether it’s real or not and how we can actually understand what we’re doing here. And by no means am I presenting any answer as a right answer of any kind, but rather really raising a set of questions that the audience can debate in some way. I do believe that there are different points of view that are just as valid as mine.
(Quoted from the interview on GrouchoReviews)
Among the awards given to Bin-Jip; Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize and Special Director’s Award (2004), and FIPRESCI Film of the Year (2005) are worth underlining, I’d say.
The screening will be on this friday (Oct 21). As usual, it will be in Room 412 (Zrinyi 14, 4th floor), at 6 p.m. Afterwards we’ll go have some discussion over beers, palinkas, wine… whatever! Hope to see you among us.