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Samaritan Girl

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Kim Ki-duk

Studio: Genius Products Inc Release Date: 06/27/2006

Tags: Movie
Director: Kim Ki-duk
1 review about Samaritan Girl

Plot seems sleazy but the emotional subtext elevates the story into a truly heartbreaking drama.

  • Sep 8, 2008
Rating:
+3
Samaritan Girl introduces us to two high-schoolers Yeo-jin and Jae-young who would like to go to Europe but they don't have the money. unfortunately Prostitution is one way of getting it. Yeo-jin contacts clients via chatrooms, instant messenger and mobile phone and generally handles the business side of things while Jae-young deals with the clients themselves.

Things go fine until, caught in an apartment as the police make a raid, Jae-young leaps out of the window in a bid to escape and is fatally injured. Seeking to make penance, Yeo-jin starts going through their address book, offering herself to each client in turn, gratis. Then her father, a cop, finds out with predictably violent and tragic consequences.

I found the film extremely involving, and the touching relationship between the two girls seemed particularly well-handled to me: I really grew to care about these characters, particularly ever-effervescent Jae-Young, who, with her constant smile and unflappable loyalty, was a character I was sad to see go. Following her death, the film's exploration of the father's painful reaction to his daughter's "lifestyle," was also interesting and, up to a point, well-handled. Direction was skillful, particularly in its crafty use of handheld footage in many segments; and the film does have an air about it of being tightly under control, which seems to indicate the practiced hand of a natural cinematic artisan. Unfortunately despite strong performances, confident direction and a careful, non-exploitative approach to the material, Samaritan Girl is a touch too enigmatic for its own good and doesn't quite manage to achieve a satisfactory balance between reality and its transcendence, too many things remaining under-explored and under-explained.

Thus, for example, while Yeo-jin and Jae-young discuss the tale of an Indian prostitute whose attentions caused her clients to devote themselves to Buddhism, we don't see how this "holy whore" myth compares with the contemporary Korean reality; nor does the director successfully manage to bring out the contrasts implicit in the more Christian framework within which he has chosen to situate the story. Nevertheless, despite that "Samaritan Girl" is a worthwhile film that everyone should watch and come to understand.

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