Categories
Animation Features Movies

Underdog (Eondeodog) a.k.a. A Dog’s Courage

Directors – Lee Choon-baek, Oh Sung-yoon – 2018 – South Korea – Cert. U – 102m

****

An abandoned dog falls in with a pack of wild dogs with whom he learns to survive – animated feature plays online from 2pm Friday, November 6th to 2pm Monday, November 9th, book here, from the Animation strand of the London Korean Film Festival (LKFF)

In a genuinely heartbreaking opening, a man drives out to nowhere, tells his dog he’s totally free and leaves him a big bag of dog biscuits. The man throws a tennis ball and while the dog runs to fetch it, he drives away. We pull out to vast landscapes, emphasising the dog is alone.

Before long, the dog Moong-Chi (voice: Do Kyung-soo) runs in to a pack of similarly abandoned dogs who are living in a derelict building which they share with the newcomer. That isn’t going to last though: a digger moves in to demolish it. Moong-chi must be rescued by pack member and small scots terrier Jjang-a (voice: Park Cheol-min) from the hunter, a cruel biker who catches and imprisons dogs for the sole purpose of breeding them for profit. As bitch Ba-mi (voice: Park So-dam, from Parasite, Bong Joon Ho, 2109) puts it, it’s a dog factory.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

The Isle (Seom)

Director – Kim Ki-duk – 2000 – South Korea – Cert. 18 – 89m

***

Review originally published in What’s On In London to coincide with the film’s UK theatrical release.

Latest UK release from Korean maverick director Kim Ki-duk (Bad Guy; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring) has a unique setting: an isolated lake upon which float small chalets on rafts available for hire by punters. The proceedings never leave these immediate surroundings, which include the shack with a jetty on the shore – from which proprietress Hee-Jin (Im Suh Jung) hires out the chalets and sometimes her body – and a mysterious isle in the lake’s centre.

She embarks upon a relationship with life-weary punter and ex-cop Hyun-shik (Kim Yoo-suk), bringing unexpected changes to them both.

This is not a film for the faint-hearted, containing as it does some pretty unsettling imagery involving physical sexual activity and fish hooks, even if much of this is suggested rather than shown.

What we’re seeing here has been slightly pruned at the request of the UK censor the BBFC, notably of scenes involving the slicing off of a live fish’s sides before the camera which have been removed on grounds of animal cruelty.… Read the rest