Samaritan Girl

Also known as Samaria, this 2004 feature by Korean cult director Kim Ki-duk comes across like a grotesque parody, but there are signs that Kim means us to take it seriously. Two teenage girls (Seo Min-jeong and Kwak Ji-min), who enjoy soaping each another in a photogenic bathhouse, take up prostitution to earn air tickets to Europe. Kwak, who pimps for her friend, is distressed when the girl seems to enjoy her work; after Seo dies in a tragic accident, Kwak begins having sex with all their former clients in order to capture her friend’s bliss, meanwhile paying back all the money. Needless to say, there’s also violence and redemption galore. In Korean with subtitles. R, 95 min. (JR)

Published on 24 Jun 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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The Holy Girl

Argentinean filmmaker Lucrecia Martel follows up her distinctive debut feature, La cienaga (2001), with another tale whose feeling of lassitude conceals a subtle but deadly family dysfunction. It’s set in a specifically Catholic milieu, hovering around a medical convention at a small-town hotel, and once again a swimming pool serves as a kind of center for floating libidos. As Martel points out, the movie is about the difficulties and dangers of differentiating good from evil, and it requires as well as rewards a fair amount of alertness from the viewer. A theremin plays a prominent role in the story. In Spanish with subtitles. R, 106 min. (JR)

Published on 17 Jun 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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High Tension

Most mediocre slasher films choose one or two obvious modelsPsycho or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or I Spit on Your Grave or Dressed to Kill or Re-Animatorbut this exceptionally gory French item (2003) gropes for all of them and winds up incoherent. The distributor, showing a similar desire to cover all bases, has dubbed some of the dialogue and subtitled the rest. If old-fashioned jolts are what you’re after, this nasty piece of merchandise delivers. But so does electroshock. Alexandre Aja directed; with Cecile de France, Maiwenn Le Besco, and Philippe Nahon. Also known as Switchblade Romance. R, 91 min. (JR)

Published on 10 Jun 2005 in Featured Texts, by admin

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