Sleeper Film of the Week: "Breathless"

Sleeper Film of the Week: "Breathless"

TITLE: Breathless a.k.a. Ddongpari


GENRE: (Violent) drama

SCREENING: Thursday, July 2 at 2 p.m. at the IFC Center, NYC as part of the New York Asian Film Festival

FUN FACT: Lead actor Yang Ik-June wrote, produced, and directed this independent movie, which has racked up awards at several international film festivals.

WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: We're all for consuming media via BitTorrent, Hulu, and YouTube, but nothing beats getting your mind blown by a powerful movie on the big-screen. Last week, we were lucky enough to attend the NY premiere of the Korean film Ddongpari (literally translated: "Shit-Fly"; American title: Breathless)—and honestly, we haven't stopped thinking about it since. The movie follows the exploits of a debt-collector/thug named Sang-hoon whose first, second, and last resort is violence. After Sang-hoon crosses paths (violently) with an equally pugnacious high-school girl, the odd couple form a strange bond that provides glimmers of light in the dark chaos of their respective lives. Along the way, we learn how Sang-hoon's past has marred his present and future...

Your knowledge of Korean cinema might begin and end with Oldboy, but where Park Chan-wook's masterpiece is all stylized, brutal violence, Breathless is simply...brutal. At times, it's painful to watch. (The English title refers to how Sang-hoon's merciless ass-whupping rages—and believe us, there are a lot of them—leave him literally breathless.) The film offers an eye-opening look at the underbelly of Seoul and poignantly illustrates the vicious, karmic cycle of abuse. (It also presents a veritable buffet of Korean curse words; you'll be mumbling "shee-bal" for days afterward.) Not since seeing La Haine (1995) have we been so thoroughly knocked on our ass by a movie-theater experience. If you can't make tomorrow's afternoon screening, then keep an eye out for the import DVD. You won't regret it.



Tags: breathless, ddongpari, foreign-film-of-the-week, korea, korean-cinema
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