‘End of Animal’, by Jo Sung-Hee

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July 26, 2011 by Me and My Monkeys

End of Animal


The post-event murmurs of those leaving the theatre suggested that folks had tried but failed to understand this intriguing Korean psycho-drama.

My take: I think perhaps some may have tried too hard.

My best bet is that the film depicts the post-apocalyptic mindspace following an aborted child, and that the  landscape and its inhabitants represent a psychological – rather than a supernatural – modus operandi. The real world is lost in the margins.

But to try to pin down the specific metaphor(s) further would be to reduce the mysterious quality of the film.  Things just happen, seems to be the main point. And, like Sisyphus, or any derivative existentialist, we continue.  There are no explanations and there is no rest stop.

Once comfortable with the fact that the film is not trying to say too much in particular, you’re left with a gripping forward thrust, as the protagonist – Soon-Yung – escorts us through a labyrinth of horrors and emotional dead ends.

There is menace at every turn and within each of the character portrayals, but never so much that we lose the capacity for empathy.

This is Lord of the Flies, on crack, in Korean.

Recommended? Yes, if you’re open to Albert Camus and/or Cormac McCarthy.

Out of 10?  7.  This could go up – or down – if the film really does ‘mean’ something that I’ve missed!

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