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Breath 숨 (M18) by Kim Ki Duk, Awardee for Cannes Un Certain Regard3 min read

11 November 2011 3 min read


Breath 숨 (M18) by Kim Ki Duk, Awardee for Cannes Un Certain Regard3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Directed by Kim Ki Duk
Korean | Drama | 2007 | 84 mins | Korean with English Subtitles | M18

Nominated for the Palme d’Or award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival

After her husband’s confession of having an affair, Yeon finds herself heading towards the prison to meet a condemned criminal Jin who repeatedly attempted suicide. She doesn’t know why, but Yeon meets Jin and treats him like an old friend. Jin doesn’t open up to her that easily at first. While Yeon brings spring, summer and autumn to Jin in the prison, they fall for each other. But Jin’s clock is ticking away, and Yeon doesn’t want to send him away like that.

On a cold winter day, after learning her husband has found a new woman, YEON absentmindedly heads for the prison where JlN is confined. Although she doesn’t know him personally, repeated news of his suicide attempts on TV had subconsciously grown in her mind which now is leading her to seek him.

JIN has no visitors and normally would not agree to meet a complete stranger, but hearing that it’s a woman, he accepts her request out of curiosity. Their first encounter is as awkward as it can get. YEON treats JIN like an old friend whereas JIN doesn’t open up so easily.

To JIN’s surprise, YEON comes back for a second visit. This time, she has decorated the visiting room with blown-up pictures of a blooming spring and filled the place with artificial spring flowers. She waits for him all adorned in a spring dress and sings him a happy spring tune. After this meeting, YEON brings JIN the seasons in her next visits.

In the meantime, her husband becomes suspicious. JIN on the other hand gradually accepts YEON’s efforts and opens up to her as YEON shows constant devotion despite his outbursts.

One day, her husband follows her to the prison and witnesses the intimate exchange between YEON and JIN. The jealous husband drags her home and tries to separate the new couple. While forced to be apart, time wines down for JIN’s execution. But the two are already attached to one another more than her husband assumed — more than life and death. And desperate YEON finds a way to elude her husband and help JIN out of his miseries.


Director’s Comment

Inhaling and exhaling”¦ Respiration”¦
We sometimes come to a difficult point in our lives when it’s hard to breathe.
A death sentence is the execution of breath according to law.
But just because we are not on death row, doesn’t mean we can breathe freely.
We can experience a pain far greater than the death sentence.
When trust is gone”¦

There is a woman who has lost this trust and goes to meet a criminal on death row whom she’s never seen before.
And she releases everything on him.
By meeting this woman, the inmate experiences the happiest moment in his life despite the fact that his days are numbered. But he will lose his breath soon when the time comes.
The harsh breathes of a death row inmate and a woman slowly becomes one.

When the woman exhales, the man inhales … When the woman inhales, the man exhales … But when one stops breathing soon, another stops breathing as well.
We can all be criminals on death row.

Everyone! Find your breath!

I will count the time.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7″¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦. Kim Ki-duk

Do also check out another film by Kim Ki Duk, showing at Sinema
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter”¦ and Spring (M18) by Kim Ki Duk

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