Image from: Arirang (2011)

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Reviewed by josephcalingasa PH / Joined josephcalingasa 2016
South Korea, 2011, 100 minutes, SD Documentary, Asian, Arthouse
I find this a very peculiar but mentally stimulating film. Director Kim ki-duk  is seen going into some kind of hiatus and lives alone in a shabby house on the hills.  Save for a cat, he is alone and only interacts with the cat to give it food.  Scenes of Kim ki-duk doing his usual day to day routines like brushing his teeth and eating the same kind of food will leave some viewers feeling bored but ultimately you will begin to grasp what's in his thoughts starting with that scene where he narrates in front of the camera what goes on in a usual filming set-up and discusses about the actors. He also gives an introspective look on the profession, then he tries to say "what did you just say" applying various emotion and tone, Viewers will see an alter ego of sorts of the director, the one doing all the asking and even sort of interrogating him.  This scene I find revealing and viewers start to understand the whole purpose of his solitary existence. In part, this is a sort of therapy for him to cleanse himself and to reassess his own purpose, not only as a film maker but as a human being, who like everyone else, goes through some life-changing events that are hard to cope.  I was particularly moved by that part, where the alter-ego, his own  self with hair tied up, tells him that he himself points out in his past films that love withers but that's life. It's like a self-sermon and an attempt to jolt his own self who seems to have lost the zest for life and for his career.  Queer, self-examining and very, very honest, here is one compelling self-portrait of someone who has to deal with a traumatic experience but ultimately transforms himself out of that trauma with a very intrinsic self-scrutiny and self-discovery.   
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